I come across people from time to time who have difficultly sleeping. While this can be a complex multi-layered issue of the mind/body/heart, I do find these practices I’m about to share to be beneficial for people who not only want to sleep better, but also desire to connect more deeply with their own natural rhythms. The practices can also be helpful if you find yourself in creating or doing mode a lot and you feel like you're just not getting the rest you need.
Over the past month or so, I’ve had some trouble falling asleep due to some challenging life experiences. I found myself in a very sticky situation at a local meditation center (of all places!), and I felt a lot of stress around the whole thing.
I came up with a routine that seems to work well for me. It helps me to let go of the day, fall asleep more easily, and wake-up feeling rested.
Below you can read about my bedtime routine. The full shabang does take a couple hours (most of the time I shorten it). You can adapt this to fit your own life. Maybe you choose one or two practices that stand out to you. Or you make up your own practice that speaks to you.
My [current] bedtime routine:
-Look at tomorrow’s schedule. This is actually crucial to the routine. Why? Because often times I’m trying to remember everything I have to do and it keeps my mind busy. I look at my appointments for the next day, and I also create a list of what needs to get done and when. This sounds incredibly simple, but writing tasks down and coming up with a plan allows me to then “drop” the plan.
-Yoga. This is usually a shorter practice—maybe 30 minutes of gentle, relaxing yoga. This helps to release any physical tension from the body.
-Meditation and/or chanting. Depending on how much time I have I’ll usually meditate for 15-30 minutes.
-Bath. If I’m going all out I’ll make a tea from herbs (such as lavender and rose) that are known to relax the mind, body, and heart and add it to the bathwater. Epsom salts or essential oils can be nice too. Candles plus relaxing music can be soothing as well.
-Visualize. Usually lying in bed I’ll visualize/pray/meditate on anything that I’m bringing into fruition. Right now that’s the Earth Medicine Women’s Gathering, so I’m visualizing the event plus bringing intention and love into the creation process. In a future blog post, I'll map out in detail what this process might look like.
-Gratitude. I tune-in to feelings of appreciation for what is right there in the moment. It might be the temperature of the room. The feel of the sheets. The lack of noise. Yes, we can also make lists of people, places, and things, but I find it very powerful to turn to what is there in the moment to appreciate.
Those are the [major] steps in my goodnight routine. It’s nothing super magical, but it does let me release the day, and bring myself into a more peaceful state.
I find it also a particularly powerful practice for people (like myself) who can’t seem to stop planning or doing things. People who have these tendencies can benefit by practicing to put all the planning, doing, and achieving down. When we put it all down, the body/mind/heart can release, relax, and rejuvenate—which helps bring the system into balance.
I’m curious, do you have a routine that works for you? Have you integrated any of these goodnight rituals in your life? Let us know in the comments below!