Sep 14, 2019

5 Things You Should Add to Your Wind down Routine

It may seem like a paradox, but the best way to approach relaxation and quality sleep is to be proactive about winding down at night. Lying on the couch and staring at the TV is for those who want to toss and turn. Real relaxation takes planning, and a wind-down routine is an essential part of that.

If you don’t already incorporate 30 minutes to an hour each night for decompressing and relaxation before sleep, you may be missing out on some much-needed, deep, restorative sleep that can decrease your risk of disease and improve cognitive function.

With a wind-down routine, you can reap these positive results and more - with a simple practice that is natural and free. It’s worth it for your mental and physical well-being to add a sleep-conducive wind-down routine to your evenings, staring with these 5 essentials.

Set the Tone with Lighting

At least an hour before bedtime, dim the lights in your home. This will calm your brain and trigger relaxation. To take your commitment to relaxation even further before bed, the Neurosurgery Center of Colorado recommends dimming the lights at dusk.

Although we have the ability through technology to block out night altogether, this is not how we were wired to operate. A slow decrease in light at dusk helps your brain prepare for sleep with the secretion of melatonin. The same effect is not achieved when you suddenly go from bright light to total darkness.

Utilize Aromatherapy and White Noise

One excellent way to foster a relaxing environment during wind-down time and through the wee hours of the night is to keep an essential oil diffuser running with a relaxing oil, such as lavendar or sweet orange.

Another way to keep yourself from waking during the night is to provide some type of white noise while you sleep. White noise, such as from a ceiling fan or nature sound machine, will help mask sleep-stealing noises.

Add a Dose of Mindfulness and Meditation

A consistently practiced wind-down routine is your panacea for quality sleep, but only if you add a little dose of mindfulness and meditation

This part of your quiet time only needs to fill about 10 minutes, but can be as long as you want and can be done wherever you feel the most comfortable, but avoid the bedroom until it’s lights out!

Related article: Yoga and meditation

Take Inventory

A common element in addiction recovery programs is to take a brief daily inventory of situations and events that occurred during your day and how you responded to them, but this is a great practice for anyone looking to grow in self-awareness.

If a situation didn’t go as well as it could have or an ongoing issue wasn’t addressed, think of ways that similar situations can be avoided in the future. However, don’t focus solely on what didn’t go as planned. Remember to pat yourself on the back during your daily inventory for the things that went well, equipped with your newly found well-rested, self-aware approach to life.

Fall Asleep Focusing on Your Breath

For many people, trying to fall asleep can involve tossing and turning, as well as a mind that won’t seem to stop running at full speed. As you evolve in your wind-down practice, your ability to fall asleep will improve, as well as the quality of your sleep.

However, a great way to keep your mind calm once you’ve turned out the lights is to focus on your breath as you drift into la-la land. This gives your mind a distraction to keep it from wandering into the past or future.

Related article: Sleep Deprivation Effects
Health Benefits of Quality Sleep 

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