Restful sleep is integral to a happy and healthy life and we find that an evening routine filled with self care practices that calm body and mind is conducive to drifting off easily and enjoying a night of quality sleep. Whilst things don’t always go as planned – we may leave it too late to do everything or prefer to do something else instead – the idea behind an evening routine is to encourage peace and wellbeing so refusing to get frustrated when we don’t or can’t carry it out is integral to feeling calm enough to sleep well.
No matter how habitual it has become for modern society to end the night checking Instagram or watching TV, we have found that without a doubt when we do, we sleep less well and are more likely to reach for a device if we have trouble staying asleep. It is preferable for the body to sleep in a space without any electronic devices present and we try to respect this by turning them off and removing them from the bedroom before beginning our evening routine.
Qi Gong is a practice of movement that cultivates the balance of life energy, known as qi. We find that releasing blockages and energies that don’t serve us and connecting with light and health through qi gong is a wonderful way to end the day. Our current favourite practice is the Evening Routine from Lee Holden which is designed to clear tension from the muscles and nerves and calm the mind and body ready for sleep.
After Qi Gong, we like to take at least 20 minutes to meditate and let the day go. Meditation is a time for the body to relax and the mind to still and for us to connect with and activate the peace and health within. Whatever has occurred during the day, we can take a break from during meditation and allow it to guide us as we consciously engage in the rest of the evening.
After meditating, we like to remain restful and enjoy a cup of Lemon Balm tea. Lemon Balm is known as a heal all, calming nerves, detoxifying the liver, spleen and kidneys, supplying the body with trace minerals, providing anti inflammatory, anti parasitic, anti viral and anti bacterial support and soothing the digestive tract. Our favourite is from Floradix who test their herbs for purity and use unbleached filter bags free from all chemical additives.
Next we like to take a warm shower, intentionally washing the day away and breathing deeply, inhaling the steam in order to clear the sinuses and lungs before sleep. We body brush beforehand and gently cleanse the skin with a natural soap. Our current favourite is the Organic Olive Oil Soap Bar from Odylique which is made from just virgin olive oil, castor oil and cocoa butter.
In Ayurveda, the practice of Abyanga is a practice of self love; massaging one’s body from head to toe with warm oil, restoring the doshas and enhancing wellbeing and longevity. We like to warm a little organic jojoba oil between our hands and around 15 minutes to self massage which increases circulation, improves muscle tone and prepares the body for deep and calm sleep.
We then brush our teeth and get into a well made bed and read. Some nights it’s a novel and others it’s something on spiritual development, self care, psychology or physical health. Spending a little time reading before sleeping has been proven to reduce stress, increase creativity, reduce cortisol levels, improve cognitive function and enhance quality of sleep.
It may sound like a cliché but ending the day in a state of gratitude is not only helpful for our mind and body but it moves us into a energetic state that attracts more good into our lives As Joe Dispenza says, “Gratitude is the ultimate state of receivership” and we enjoy reflecting on what we are grateful for before closing our eyes for the day.
A Good Night
Whilst this routine is geared towards helping us drift off easily and enjoy a healthy night’s sleep, this isn’t always the case and the most important thing we do for ourselves when we can’t sleep is maintain the feelings of relaxation and calm that our routine has facilitated. Getting stressed, worried or frustrated about a lack of sleep does not encourage recovery and renewal and the body is better served by us remaining peaceful and resting even if we aren’t able to sleep well. Our minds are powerful and what we conceive and believe we can achieve, so perhaps one of the most important steps in our evening routine is being mindful of our thoughts and feelings and choosing to energise those that serve us well and release all others, clearing our minds and remaining connected to the healing energies we have activated during our evening.