EXPLORING RITUALS TO SUPPORT BETTER SLEEP:
We tend to view sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down completely, but this is not the case at all. Sleep is an active period during which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. Our bodies require sufficient sleep in order to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones; and the same is true of pathways and processes within our brains. Why then, is this foundational requirement to optimal wellness something so many of us tend not to invest in - especially those of us it doesn’t come naturally to? Whether you need gentle encouragement or a full-fledged sleep routine intervention, read on to explore 6 tried and true rituals to help you invest in rest.
SLEEP RITUAL #1: MEDITATION
Be it a busy day ahead of or behind you, a conversation you’re rehearsing, or even a song stuck in your head, there is seemingly no end to what your mind explores when you lay your head down at night. Meditation is the practice of mindful attentiveness to the present moment, and can support you in putting these thoughts to bed. This deep relaxation technique has been shown to improve sleep quality and quantity, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
You may imagine meditation as an exclusively still, solitary practice: eyes closed, legs crossed, atop a cushion. There are however many ways you can bring meditative intention into any part of your day, to help support a good night’s sleep later on. If you’re feeling curious about exploring meditation, check out how essential oils can support your practice.
SLEEP RITUAL #2: RESTORATIVE YOGA
Whether it’s your mind or your body that keeps you awake at night, a gentle flow can ease both; there’s an abundance of resources available online to support all levels from beginner to expert. Set the intention of relaxation with slow, deep breaths to clear your thoughts and bring focus to your flow. Consider ending your practice with a body scan exercise: lying in savasana, bring your attention to the crown of your head and slowly work your way down to the tips of your toes, checking for tension along the way. Consider adding a grounding, stabilizing blend of essentials oils like those found in our Yoga roll-on to help you inhale ease and exhale tension.
SLEEP RITUAL #3: LIMIT CAFFEINE
As soon as we wake in the morning, our bodies begin preparing for a restful night ahead - how’s that for proactivity? One such way is by the brain’s gradual release of adenosine throughout the day, peaking just as we fall asleep. Caffeine's ability to stimulate and energize is a result of temporarily blocking our adenosine receptors, so we recommend enjoying your cup of coffee in the earlier half of your day. Consider stretching your legs or enjoying some fresh air before reaching for that 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee. Better yet, reach for a plant-based blend of basil, lemon and peppermint for natural Energy!
SLEEP RITUAL #4: A WARM, RELAXING BATH
It may seem counterintuitive, but a warm bath about 90 minutes before bedtime can support a necessary drop in core body temperature to help induce sleep. When we bring our core body temperature above 100°F (38°C), its natural inclination is to correct this increase; once out of the bath, you’ve stimulated your body’s internal cooling process. Try pairing this practice with soothing candle light, calming music and a restoring treat for your skin with Sleep Well body butter.
SLEEP RITUAL #5: A CUP OF TEA
There are an abundance of herbal tea ingredients that have soothing effects on the mind and body; chamomile, passionflower, lavender, and valerian, to name a few. You may recognize many of these for their inclusion in our sleep support products; most uniquely: valerian. Unlike it’s delicately scented flowers, the roots of the valerian plant have a strong, earthy aroma, responsible for its sedative effects. It has long been traditionally used to promote tranquil sleep, and more recent research suggests that this is due to its relationship to GABA, a naturally-occurring amino acid that reduces neuron activity in the brain. Whether you’re into herbal science or not, the adage remains: there’s nothing a cup of tea can’t fix!
SLEEP RITUAL #6: ESSENTIAL OILS BLENDS TO ENCOURAGE REST
Aromatherapy ranks high for minimal effort and maximum impact. Complement your current nighttime routine with essential oils known to help support feeling relaxed and peaceful as you drift into dreamland. Remember that when it comes to picking out the right blend for you, we say “your nose knows”; choose whichever one sounds or smells the best to you.
- Dream State Diffuser Blend - fall into deep relaxation with this blissful blend of lavender to ease the mind, valerian to inspire restfulness and roman chamomile to soothe the body
- Goodnight Diffuser Blend - create a relaxing atmosphere with this rich and warming blend featuring tranquil roman chamomile, grounding sandalwood, and calming vetiver
- Tranquility roll-on - slow down with uplifting orange, calming lavender and peaceful roman chamomile applied to your pulse points, like temples and wrists, at bedtime
Building new habits can feel clumsy at first, but once you’re feeling well-rested, you’ll thank yourself for it! Consider this investment an exercise of self-love; practice flexibility and encourage diversity until you find the rituals that create the conditions for your personal best sleep, ever.