It's Your Time to Prepare for Sleep
Once you’ve created a cozy nest with the right bedding to support your sleep, you can focus on the rituals that go into preparing for sleep. A bedtime ritual takes place during the protected time when you limit your focus to preparing your mind and body for sleep. These are the repetitive activities that may appear routine but are performed with mindfulness.
Your rituals are personal and depend on what will calm and soothe you before attempting sleep. They can include before-bed hygiene like brushing your teeth and washing your face; relaxing activities like meditation and journaling; or organizational efforts like mixing up some overnight oats or preparing tomorrow’s outfit that will get your next morning off to a good start. They need not make sense to others. Here are some of the rituals we have detailed over the last year.
1. Relaxing in the Bath
A 10–15-minute bath approximately 90 minutes before you plan to go to bed can work wonders for soothing senses. Lay back against our Terry Tub Pillow and let go of the day’s stresses.
2. Cocooning in a Robe and Slippers
Nothing beats wrapping up in a robe after stepping out of a steaming shower or tub. In determining the style that will suit you, consider where and when you will wear your robe. If you slip into your robe in lieu of a towel upon stepping out of the tub or shower, consider something thick and cozy but absorbent, like our Mt. Baker Shawl Collar Waffle Robe with Terry Lining. Like your robe, your choice of slipper depends entirely on your personal preference. Our hotel-quality slippers are perfect for stepping out of the bath until slipping into bed.
3. Cupping a Mug of Tea in Your Hands
Tea leads to a feeling of relaxation to set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Our brains need a routine to signal it’s time to shut down. The look, feel, taste, and warmth of a cup of tea can do just that. Our Tea Forté Herbal Teas Assortment and Wellbeing Gift Set include teas that taste as delicious as they look beautiful.
4. Lighting a Candle
Lighting can convey a mood, whether it is bright and festive or soothing and calm. Include a beautiful candle in your bath or bedroom to enjoy the warm glow. Pick a scent (or no scent) that’s just right for you. To create the warm and soothing ambiance you need to unwind after work or to center yourself as you bathe, consider the soothing flicker of a candle with a subtle scent like our Seda France™ Japanese Quince Candle. The benefits of burning a scented candle include lowering stress and promoting relaxation. Let lighting and extinguishing the candle become part of your meditation, relaxation, and bedtime routines.
5. Closing Your Eyes
A dark room will help you to sleep better. However, it’s hard to eliminate all of the ambient light from around window shades or electronics. An eye mask makes it simple. The gentle pressure can also provide a calming effect.
6. Relaxing Your Breathing
If sleep seems out of your grasp when you lie down at night, you’re not alone. It’s possible your mind and body are not quite ready to make the leap from wake to sleep. One way to get you to that point is through focusing on your breathing to quiet your mind and calm your body so you are prepared for sleep with a breathing technique called the 4-7-8 method.
7. Positioning Your Pillows
Everyone has their own way of settling themselves into bed. Whether it involves exchanging the decorative pillows for the sleeping pillows or getting the sleeping pillows into the right formation, so you have a pillow to hug on either side, you know what works for you.
8. Reading for Pleasure
Bedtime stories may have been the lure you used to get your children to bed, but they were also a soothing part of their bedtime routine. Reading can continue to be part of your bedtime ritual even if you no longer have a child at home who wants to read with you. You might not want to choose the gripping page-turner that will keep you up all night. Consider keeping on your nightstand a favorite you’ve read and loved that will not leave you lost if you nod off mid-sentence. Another option is something that can be read in pieces like any one of the books by David Sedaris or any issue of The New York Times Book Review. Experts recommend reading outside the bedroom with a soft lamp light and getting in bed when you feel ready to sleep.
It doesn’t matter that only you are aware of your ritual, or even that only you credit it as a ritual. Unlike familiar religious rituals performed in community, these are individual rituals that need only work for you.
Reach for the bedtime rituals that will bring you the healthy and healing sleep you need.
-The Team at Down Etc