Winding down effectively each evening is absolutely vital for me. If I don’t follow a certain routine or at least part of my usual routine, I may not get the rest I need at night. I’m going to share my evening routine below and I hope you’ll find something helpful which you may also end up adopting.
Aromatherapy and Colour Therapy
Even though I am firmly in my thirties now, I can’t sleep without an aroma diffuser that also doubles as a colour changing nightlight. I find the soft noise it makes very soothing and the colours are beautiful. I highly recommend you take a look at some of these online and please take a look at my suggestions below:
- Rio Aroma Diffuser – this is the colour changing ultrasonic aroma diffuser and humidifier that I use each night.
- Bionaire – any humidifier by Bionaire is great in my opinion. I have owned various models throughout the years and they were all effective, quiet, soothing, and lasted a long time).
Essential oils I use often include the following:
- Clary Sage
- Rose Geranium
- Jasmine flower
- Ylang Ylang
- Eucalyptus (especially valuable for coughs, colds and malaise)
- I also sometimes create my own essential oil mixtures and sometimes they work out very well. In particular, I like to mix Jasmine flower with Lavender, Rose Geranium with Jojoba and Bergamot with Lemongrass.
This is probably an obvious one as most people are aware of the benefits of herbal teas, but I’d like to offer a list of the ones I prefer and recommend which are absolutely fantastic for aiding rest. I usually make my teas quite strong to garner more of an effect. Some of the teas I recommend include:
- Chamomile (my number one favourite and usual go-to bedtime tea)
- Chamomile and Spearmint (this combo is great after a late or heavy meal)
- Kava Kava
- Orange Blossom
- Peppermint, Field mint or Spearmint – or a combination of all three
- Valerian root (this is one of the few herbs available on the market today which has been clinically proven to induce sleep)
- St John’s Wort
- Cinnamon (beautiful tea to have around the Christmas holidays, i.e. now!)
- Lemon balm (perfect for those who like tangy teas)
- Fennel (also great after a late night meal or larger than usual meal to aid digestion)
- and a tea by UK brand Pukka – Night Time Tea (it contains organic Lavender, Oat flower and Limeflower). All of the aforementioned plants and herbs should help you to sleep soundly.
- Yogi bedtime tea (this tea contains plenty of the above herbs and tastes gorgeous)
- Chinese herbs are great for encouraging rest and sleep too, although I would suggest visiting a Chinese medical centre or Holistic therapist for more advice on which herbs would be best suited to you.
- Additionally, a visit to a local Homoeopath should also prove helpful as they may also be able to suggest some herbal teas specifically tailored to your needs.
Foods Containing Tryptophan
Foods that are high in Tryptophan (an essential amino acid) can aid sleep. I usually have a small banana after my dinner and sometimes make some warm milk with a small amount of Manuka or Acacia honey. Other foods that are high in Tryptophan include the following:
- Red meat
- Cheeses (of all kinds, especially Cheddar)
- Turkey (one of the reasons people fall asleep after large Christmas dinners!)
Meditation is perfect right before going to bed. I don’t meditate in bed, however as I’ll likely fall asleep halfway through! Meditation whilst sitting upright on the floor or in a comfortable and supportive chair is best.
I find that nightly meditation really helps me with the following:
- Clearing my mind of worries and issues.
- Calming myself completely.
- Relaxing my physical body – muscles and nerves.
- Gaining focus and concentration for the following day – especially if it’s a working day.
If you are new to meditation, there are plenty of books available which can help you get started.
I recommend Meditation for Beginners by Yesena Chavan and it can be bought on Amazon here.
It’s been proven that cats, in particular, can be very soothing to have as pets.
Stroking them often can help to decrease blood pressure and relax us. I usually give my cat a god cuddle before getting into bed and I really agree with the research because I’ve found that after just 2 or 3 minutes of stroking and talking to my cat, I feel far more relaxed!
Obviously, stroking a cat if you have a pet hair allergy wouldn’t provide a similar experience, but if you don’t have an allergy and you’re thinking about getting a pet, think about a cat or two!
Eye Masks and Melatonin
Consider investing in a high-quality eye mask to aid rest!
If you sleep in a room that’s very dark, you shouldn’t really need an eye mask but if your room remains lit at night to some degree because your window looks out onto a street with bright lighting or you have thin curtains, consider buying an eye mask as this can help to increase melatonin levels which trigger sleep.
I use three different masks; a satin one in the Summer months, a heavier, lavender flower filled cotton mask in the Winter months. In the Autumn and Spring months, I use a thin, dark cotton mask. I bought my satin masks from Mary Green (online). My cotton masks were both from John Lewis.
Music and White Noise
A few years ago, I had some issues weighing heavily on my mind and I found that I couldn’t easily fall asleep as my mind would focus on them in the silence of the night.
I found that very relaxing music played quietly, such as orchestral classical music helped me to sleep. I also downloaded a few different white noise applications on my smartphone and to this day, I still access these each night. If you’d like to look into the use of white noise to sleep, have a look on Youtube as there are plenty of videos explaining how it can help you to relax, meditate and sleep and there are literally hundreds if not thousands of different white noise videos there too.
Of course, there are plenty of other things that may help to induce sleep such as relaxing baths with candles, but the above points may be a little less obvious and that’s why I thought I’d share them.
I should mention that I sometimes take some time out to star gaze in my garden with a cup of herbal tea during warmer evenings and this always helps to remind me of the bigger picture and relaxes me greatly.
Hopefully you’ll find something useful in the above lists! Have a look at my article about helping ourselves to heal too!