Before I begin, I just want to start off with why I think having a “relaxing” evening is so important. I have the lovely habit of grinding my teeth in my sleep. Actually, I’ve always had the habit of grinding my teeth. I just didn’t realize it was a problem until within the last year when I was forced to re-evaluate my stress levels and come up with new coping mechanisms before bed. I found all of these steps along the way and I hope these discoveries help you gain a more peaceful sleep! x
BANISH THE BLUE LIGHT
There is a reason your computer and phone give you the option of “night mode.” Our eyes are not very good at blocking out blue light which radiates from all of our screens. Blue light can cause your eyes to strain and is proven to keep you awake longer and cause mental strain and headaches. Sounds scary, I know. Luckily, it’s a lot easier to filter out the blue light than you would think. The most important tool I have in the blue light battle are my computer screen glasses. These glasses not only provide filtering throughout the day, but they are stylish too. Check them out here on Amazon. I also have my phone and laptop automatically set to filter out blue light (“night mode” for Apple devices) at 9 PM, which is about two to four hours before I go to sleep on any given night. I have noticed a wonderful difference in my sleep when I use these tools.
SHUT DOWN AN HOUR BEFORE YOU NORMALLY WOULD
I know this seems easier said than done. Plan out the amount of time you want to sleep every night (doctors recommend 7-9 for adults) and then give yourself an extra hour to accomplish the other steps below. This not only helps you relax better but it helps you sleep harder (and quicker). Giving yourself an extra hour to wind down and relax is good for the soul and good for your mind the next day.
SCHEDULE OUT THE DAY IN FRONT OF YOU
Believe it or not, this is how I unwind. For those of you who gain extra stress from planning, skip this step. There is nothing more relaxing to me than writing out a to-do list for the next day, laying out my outfit, and just feeling prepared for my tomorrow. It reduces any nighttime and next-day stress I may feel.
READING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
As you can see in the pic above, I love books and a good cup of something warm (coffee and tea, please). Whether it is your Bible, your daily devotional (currently reading Unshakeable by Christine Caine), a novel (currently reading Without Rival by Lisa Bevere), or just a magazine, reading relaxes and strengthens your mind at the same time. It helps settle yourself into a deeper sleep while strengthening your brain activity. It’s a win/win!
DRINK A CUPPA
I will now and forever swear by the magic of a cup of herbal/green (caffeine free!!) tea before bed. Out of all of these steps, this is the one I do religiously. Not only is it delicious, but it forces you to slow down and breathe a little. I drink Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea almost every night. And when the day was a little rough? I drink Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer Herbal Tea. If you don’t like tea, make yourself a hot cup of water and settle in for the night.
WEAR A FACE MASK AND SPEND SOME TIME FOCUSING ON YOU
Take. Care. Of. Your. Self. I use the Rodan and Fields Unblemish regimen (which is pricey and should only be used if you struggle with severe acne) every night topped with Mario Badescu’s drying lotion and Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Overnight Eye Balm every night. Pair this with your tea and a good book– your peace will be back in no time. Even if you just use a simple face mask a few times a week, feeling good about yourself before bed helps reduce stress immensely. BONUS: wear cute PJs. I know it sounds weird, but if you feel confident before bed, turns out you’ll sleep confidently too.
SCENT THERAPY IS VITAL
This has been a recent discovery of mine. Around August I purchased a couple of essential oil roll-ons to get me through the hectic semester I had ahead of me (see my December favorites for my Worry-Free Roll-On). I also began to light a lavender scented candle every night and spray my pillows with lavender scents. After Christmas, I threw in my essential oil diffuser (lavender and eucalyptus are the best for my nighttime routine) and BAM I was out in a second. This may not work for everyone, but it instantly puts me to sleep almost every single night. Lavender is the key to a good nights sleep.
As a side note, I do take Melatonin every night as well. This is not for everyone. While it is a “natural” remedy, it is still a form of medicine. Only take this if you really feel restless or have a hard time falling asleep at night. I did not start taking this until a doctor pointed out to me that I was almost completely out of jaw tissue due to my grinding (I also have a guard I sleep with every night!).
I hope this helps you become more relaxed and stress-free tonight and every night. Sleep well, lovelies!