Updated: Nov 27, 2020
How do you wind down for the evening?
Do you have a nighttime ritual?
A few months ago I was having a difficult time sleeping, which is very unusual for me because for the most part, I can sleep through anything (like when I slept through a Category 3 Hurricane). But not only was I not sleeping, I also wasn’t sleeping through the night and I was waking up with incredibly painful migraines. So I began curating a night time routine to help me sleep and stay asleep. With a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I have a full nightly ritual that is easy to stick to and I enjoy. It also helps to put me to sleep like the princess who pricked her finger on a needle.
Unplug and Disconnect.
You have heard this before, you have probably read a few of the reason why shouldn’t be scrolling on Instagram or watching TV right before bed, but you do it anyways. We all have done it; and I am sure this was one of the reasons I wasn’t sleeping right. I had to unplug and disconnect before I got in bed. So the first thing I did was set up a time at night that I would completely disconnect. That meant no more scrolling on IG, no internet, No phone calls, no texts (maybe..) and no TV. Yeah…that episode you are watching right now IS the last one and you will turn off the T.V. after it is finished. Keeping a schedule and going to bed at the same time (or around the same time) every night helps get your body on a schedule. You don’t have to be on a standard early morning schedule. If you know you go to bed at 1:00 am and it's all good because you don't have to be awake until at least 10:00 am… then set your bedtime according to those hours and perform this ritual within that time frame. The goal is just to find hours that you can stick to.
“SET A BEDTIME AND STICK TO IT” as best you can.
The ‘Bedtime” I’m talking about is the one you can setup on the Clocks App for iPhone. (Trigger warning for Android Users) I don’t know what ya’ll phone can do so..
The setting on the Clock App allows you to set a ‘bedtime’ based on how many hours you want to sleep and what time you intend to wake up in the morning. There are a few added benefits that come along with using this setting in your phone over a regular shmegular alarm.
1. You can set up a ‘Bedtime Reminder’ where you will get an alert an hour before your scheduled bedtime. This allows you to actually prepare and get ready for a good night rest.
2. You automatically get a morning alarm for the time you selected as your wake up hour.
3.Based on the hours you selected for bedtime and wake time; your phone is automatically set to DND during those hours.
Once that ‘bedtime reminder’ goes off, I know I have 1 hour left before I go dark on the world. So whatever I am working on I begin finishing up. If I am watching something, that is the last episode I am watching. If I am creating, I am finishing up what I am working on and cleaning up. This is the part of the night that I call ‘Turn down Time”.
TIP: When I set up my bedtime, I always add an extra hour of ‘sleep time’ in there. That way, when my alert goes off, I actually get 2 hours to wrap up what I’m working on AND take a shower all in that time. This way, I don’t feel rushed in case I decide to take a little longer in the shower or the episode of Game of Thrones I am watching runs a little long. For example, I set my bedtime for 10:00 pm and waking up at 7:00 am. I will get a reminder at 9:00 pm that my bedtime is in an hour. Now, I know I’m not going to be in bed by 10:00 pm but I really do need to be up at 7:00 am, so even if I get to bed at 10:30 or 11:00 pm, I am still getting a sufficient amount of sleep AND I have an alarm automatically set up for the morning.
Turn down Service.
If you ever stayed at a luxury hotel, you may have received ‘turn down service’ in your room in the evening. This is when the housekeeping staff prepares your room for you getting yo ass to sleep. They turn the lights down low in your room. Lay robes on the bed and slippers nearby. They also turn the TV to a channel with soothing music and if you're lucky, they will really leave a piece of chocolate on your pillow. -- For as much traveling as I do for work, the chocolate thing has only happened twice, and each time more exciting than the other.
Before you get ready to jump in a hot shower, turn off your TV and turn the lights down low in your bedroom. I have found that after getting out the shower and walking into a room that primed for bed, it is easy to jump right in. And if you like chocolate, Hell, treat yourself to a piece or two of chocolate before you jump in the shower.
Tip: Take out your gym clothes or work clothes; whatever it is you can do to prepare yourself for the coming morning. When I’m not traveling for work, I work from home so for me, if I am not setting my outfit out for the morning, then it is important that I clean and clear my office area. That way in the morning I’m not scrambling to find my laptop charger, paperwork or Hera forbid, my wireless mouse!
This is the sleep inducing part and to me, the most important part. Candlelit Showers are something I deeply enjoy and is where this entire ritual was birthed from. something I had stumbled upon due to a situation where all the lights in my bathroom blew out in my apartment so I lit some candles and took a shower. No big deal. But that simple act was the birth of one of my favorite nightly rituals. The bathroom becomes an entire sacred space and showering because a ritual cleanse. So grab a few candles; I find that at least 3 tealight candles can light up almost any bathroom while still keeping the warm and sensual look. Do whatever you want, whatever you feel. Turn it into a magical Goddess experience that is just for you.
The Benefits of taking a hot shower or bath is that is relaxes the muscles which makes it very easy to want to crawl into bed.
Tip: If you are an essential oil user, you can add a few drops on to the floor of your shower to get your aromatherapy vibes going. If you are a fan of lotions, creams and body oils; use this time to not only cleanse but to moisturize yourself like the Goddess you are. Bonus points for using scents that induce relaxation and sleep like lavender, rose and bergamot. If you are interested in a ritual bath with some extra goodies, check out 'Goddess on a Budget'.
Now get yo ass sleep.
By the time I leave my bathroom, I smell good, my skin is soft as fuck and I am feeling pretty damn relaxed. I’ll either a read a book or just go to sleep. I also have a playlist that was created for the my nightly candlelight showers. This way, I am still getting some “stimulation” before bed, but it's only music and the only thing it stimulates is my sleep hormones.
One of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed by having a night time ritual is that I found it easier to incorporate other routines into my ritual without altering the intention. For example, I have now a face regimen. I have always washed and moisturized my face of course; throw in a little clay mask here and face scrub there, but nothing with real intention and care. Now, at night I wash my face with African Black Soap and use either an overnight face mask or an overnight moisturizing oil. In the day I have a lightweight face oil and rose water to keep me bright and refreshed all day long. And it just happened, over a few weeks of doing the same little thing turned into a series of little things that became my face regimen. I have also became the Woman who puts lotion on her hands right before bed. I don’t know who she is and how she got this way…. but she’s moisturized AF.
So go grab some candles, set a 'bedtime' and take a shower by candle light and get your self a great nights sleep Goddess!
Written By: Amanda Sanchez