Getting those magic eight hours each night keeps our immune system strong, our body energised and our anxieties safely at bay, so right now, sleep should be the top of everyone’s agenda.
Maybe you’re finding that easy-peasy with less commuting time and more PJ time? Or perhaps you’ve had a few late-night “House Party” sessions and are rapidly turning into a night owl? Whatever your experience, we’ve got some tips to get you catching those z’s in no time at all.
1. No news after 7pm.
No news is good news, right? That’s our thinking come evening time and this is one to get religious about. So lets repeat, NO NEWS AFTER 7PM. Yes, it is important to keep up to date on what’s going on in the world but save it for earlier in the day. The time spent before your head hits the pillow is all about getting yourself as relaxed and as peaceful as possible and let’s be honest, the news tends to have the opposite effect on most of us, especially in these uncertain times.
The ultimate advice would be to stay away from your devices altogether, read a good book, meditate or try your hand at baking some bread, anything. But if you’re not there yet… stick to happy content, maybe take the chance to connect with a loved one, listen to a light-hearted podcast, stick on this calming Nightcap playlist and keep those good vibes flowing.
2. Have a bedtime routine.
Bedtime routines are not just for children! We are creatures of habit, and since many of our daily rituals have been recently lost, bringing some new ones into our own homes is a great shout right now.
When it comes to sleep, a bedtime ritual can help signal to your brain that it’s a time for rest and recovery, and with repetition and habit, your brain will eventually get with the program. A typical routine could consist of changing into your PJs, dimming the lights or lighting candles, using essential oils such as lavender oil, or one of my personal favourites; having a special night-time drink!
I love to make my own version of the Three Spirit Hot Zen Toddy just before bedtime. Not only is it filled with ingredients that help promote lucid-dreaming, calm the nerve system, lower anxiety, and decrease inflammation – such as hops, lemon balm, valerian, ashwagandha and turmeric – but it also happens to taste delicious and works perfectly as a comforting late-night treat.
Feel free to improvise and substitute ingredients as needed. Brilliantly, the Nightcap can also be enjoyed on its own or over ice.
3. Focus on your breath; 4-7-8.
At the end of the day, if you happen to find yourself tossing and turning in bed, try the simple 4-7-8 breathing method for some instant relaxation. Follow this step-by-step guide.
– Lay on your back with your eyes closed. Inhale through your nose counting quietly in your mind to the count of 4.
– At the top of your breath, retain the breath inside while you mentally count to 7.
– Finally, slowly exhale (through your mouth or your nose) as you count to 8.
– Inhale 4 – hold 7 – exhale 8.
– Repeat as many times as needed until you lose track and eventually drift off to sleep.
Top take-out: It takes at least 21 days to make a habit so aim to find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Always be mindful of what you allow into your experience, especially before bedtime, and allow the last few hours of each day to develop into something peaceful and enjoyable. Your body and your brain will thank you later!