We’re kicking off National Bed Month with a guest post from our friend Tom at Flourish and Be on tips for helping you get a perfect night’s sleep.
It’s a firm belief of mine that our ability to live mindfully has a lot to do with our sleeping habits. A night of plentiful, good quality sleep can set us up for a present, positive day, a day in which we’re able to focus on living each and every moment with an attentive, happy attitude. On the flip side, a night of bad quality or little sleep can leave us feeling groggy and sluggish, cursed to spend the day in a zombified state, constantly wishing we were back under the covers. In order to wake up refreshed and ready to face the day as a fully awake, non-grumpy human being, we need to make sure that we’re creating a good environment for ourselves to fall asleep in; here are my tips for preparing yourself and your surroundings for a perfect night of sleep.
Spend a few minutes each night tidying your bedroom – Tidy surroundings can go a long way in facilitating a tidier mind, something that’s especially important when we’re heading off to sleep. Unnecessary clutter can act as a stressor, it symbolises yet another task that needs to be completed and keeps your mind in an anxious state, so it’s a good idea to tidy away your bits and pieces at the end of the day, or even remove those things from your bedroom altogether if they don’t really need to be there. When I’m feeling especially lazy, I’ve taken to setting a five minute timer just before I start my bedtime preparations, getting as much tidying up done as I can within that short space of time. As I’m not a particularly messy person this usually gives me plenty of time to clear any surfaces and get things back to where they need to be. I’m then left with a clutter-free, calm bedroom to fall asleep in. Plus, it’s so much nicer (let alone more mindful) to wake up in tidy surroundings rather than a room filled with the mess of the day before.
Turn your bedroom into a no-tech zone – We all know how toxic tech can be when it comes to sleep, not only acting as a distraction from shutting our eyes and getting our ideal number of hours but also literally messing with our brain chemistry; the blue light emitted by our screens can trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime, telling it to turn off the production of melatonin, a hormone that’s key in winding down the body and preparing it to sleep. Turning your bedroom into a tech-free area, or at least keeping your laptop/phone use to a minimum, will go along way in ensuring that melatonin is produced as it naturally should be, in turn bringing on a restful night of sleep and a refreshed, ready to go feeling the next morning. Instead of diving head first into a Netflix binge or endlessly scrolling through social media next time you head to bed, try to get into the habit of reading a book, starting a journal or partaking in another no-tech, relaxing pastime.
Curate a dreamy bedtime playlist – Part of me creating a good environment for sleep involves my bedtime playlist! As I’m preparing to get into bed, whether I’m tidying my room, changing into sleepwear or brushing my teeth, I like to pop on my collection of dreamy tunes to help me wind down, relax and get ready to hit the pillow. I’ve put together my chilled playlist on Spotify, and you can listen to it here! (http://www.flourishandbe.com/2016/02/a-dreamy-bedtime-playlist.html)
Make a DIY sleep spray with essential oils – Essential oils are a powerful tool in encouraging the body and mind to feel a certain way, and as such are a fantastic addition to your healthy bedtime routine. Lavender is of course the essential oil most commonly associated with sleep, it works wonders in calming an active, anxious mind, and there are a number of ways you can incorporate it into your sleep prep, one of which being via a sleep spray. There are a huge number of sleep sprays/pillow mists available to buy, the majority of these containing lavender, but on closer inspection they also tend to contain a bunch of artificial, synthetic ingredients. Creating your own sleep spray with essential oils is super easy, and allows you to know exactly what you’re spraying onto your pillow each night as well as enabling you to experiment with your own blends; head to Flourish & Be to find out how to make your very own DIY lavender and bergamot sleep spray (with printable labels!). (http://www.flourishandbe.com/2016/02/lavender-bergamot-sleep-spray.html)