11 SUPER HEALTHY BEDTIME RITUALS
The hours between getting home from work and going to bed are very important. The decisions you make here can affect how you feel mentally, your sleep quality – and even whether you have a good or bad day when you wake up. Ordered pizza for dinner instead of making your usual fish and vegies? It’s likely you’ll be full of regret (and cheese) all night. Up late scrolling Instagram when you should’ve put the phone down an hour ago? You’re probably going to have a lot of trouble falling asleep, and staying there. Didn’t use your after-work time wisely to relax and reflect? Don’t expect to wake up feeling very energised, motivated or switched on tomorrow.
Incorporating bedtime rituals into your routine is a very clever way to avoid all of the above. In fact, it’s a tactic used by many wellness experts to ensure they’re feeling their best! Here, we break down 11 of our favourite bedtime rituals; try them out over the next week and pick a handful that you can commit to on a daily basis.
Take a walk
Often when we come home after work and jump straight into cooking dinner, watching tv and cleaning the house, we haven’t had the chance to process the day. We love to take a quick, 20-minute walk when we get home – without music or podcasts – so we can be alone with our thoughts and unwind.
Relax in a hot shower or bath
Even if you’re not usually a night time shower-er, it can be a great way to completely relax your body and mind and prepare you for a restful sleep. Bonus points for dim light, candles, calming music and essential oils! Really take your time too, rather than washing and running.
Cook a delicious and nutritious dinner
If you’re clever, you will have prepped some of your dinners on the weekend, so you’re not as stressed out at dinner time. Now, all you need to do is cook and serve! There’s something very therapeutic about being in the kitchen and focussing on the task at hand, and of course, a nutritious dinner will do wonders for your body and mind as well. Once it’s ready, sit down at the dining table and practice mindful eating by chewing slowly, tasting the food and enjoying the moment.
Prepare for tomorrow
Avoid the mad morning rush by getting everything ready the night before: prepare your breakfast and lunch, lay out your outfit, sit down for a few minutes to plan your day (including your to-do list and any appointments you have coming up) and book in to your CORE+ class and make sure you commit!
It might not seem like much, but spending five minutes stretching at night can be all you need to switch off the mind and have you feeling ready for bed. You don’t want to be doing this in front of the TV either. Instead, we recommend a quiet room, closed eyes and deep breathing to put yourself in a super relaxed state.
Turn of all technology
Getting off your emails and putting your phone face down is hard, we know! But it’s really worth it once you realise the benefits it can have on your sleep quality. Experts recommend doing this at least 1 hour before bed, but 2 hours is even better if you can manage it. Can’t bear the thought of no tech? At least consider turning your phone on night mode, which will minimise the blue light that is responsible for keeping your brain awake.
Reflect on the day
What went well today? What went really, really bad? Take five minutes to download with your husband, girlfriend, housemate – anyone! Chat about three great things that happened, and three not so great things. Like, maybe you got a nice email from your boss praising your work, but maybe you also got a parking ticket. Get it out!
Write in your journal
You can take this ‘therapy’ one step further with the art of journaling. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a good writer; this sort of journaling is more about processing your thoughts and planning for the future – plus, no one is going to read it. Our favourite things to journal are affirmations (positive thoughts or comments about yourself), gratitude (things you are grateful for today) and visualisation (creating and picturing your dream life, or something you really want to achieve).
Read a book
Put down the phone! Keep a couple of books next to your bed and opt for these instead of scrolling through social media or replying to work emails. Apparently, it only takes six minutes of reading to make you feel significantly more calm, and it can even help you fall to sleep. Even better, books don’t have screens – you’ve probably had enough of those today.
Meditate and breathe
Possibly the best way to clear the mind and enter into a restful state is with meditation. There are plenty of apps to help with this, especially if you’re new to it – check out Headspace, 1 Giant Mind and Insight Timer. Be sure to include plenty of deep breaths and focus on relaxing every muscle of the body.
Listen to nature sounds
Once you’ve completed your meditation and are ready for bed, you might like to turn on nature sounds, which will send you off into a slumber (we like the Calm app). Nature sounds are also a perfect alternative if you’re not great at meditation. The key here is to turn off the light, lie down, close your eyes and let the sounds do their thing, rather than reading, writing or sitting up until you’re literally falling asleep.
What is your bedtime ritual? We’d love to hear it! Stop by the CORE+ Facebook page to share it with us.