Sometimes, when cleaning around the house and feeling very philosophical, I like to tune into a TED Talks podcast. They tend to open up my mind and make me think about things that I never would have otherwise. Last week, I came across one on Maslow’s Human Needs, and it really got me thinking. The podcast touched on each of Maslow’s basic human needs: food/water, safety, sleep, love, purpose – all of which I remember learning about in Sociology class.
It mainly got me thinking about the importance of sleep, and how so many of us don’t take it as seriously as we should. We should embrace sleep – we spend about 1/3 of our lives doing it.
While there has been quite a buzz for some time now on the benefits of practicing morning rituals, there has not been nearly as much on nighttime rituals, which are equally as important. As morning rituals are great for kicking off a healthy and productive day, nighttime rituals are great for kicking off a healthy and productive sleep. Yes, a good night’s sleep is very productive. It boosts our immune system, improves memory, makes us less irritable and stressed, reduces inflammation, reduces sugar cravings, and helps our body to repair itself. Not to mention, it sets us up for a better day ahead.
10 Nighttime rituals for a healthy and happy life (besides flossing, brushing your teeth, and washing your face of course):
1. Power down at least 30 minutes before bed.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the blue light emitted by the screens of televisions, computers, and smart phones restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your Circadian Rhythm (the body’s natural clock). Turn off these electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
2. Tidy up.
Clutter gives us stress, and stress gives us insomnia. Take a few minutes before bed to tidy up what you can. Pick up the laundry, clear the nightstand, take out the trash. You’ll feel much more at ease when this is all done.
3. Cool the temperature.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests a bedroom temperature of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.
4. Bring Gerbera daisies into the bedroom.
Most houseplants are wonderful, but there are some that are especially great for filtering air at night. Gerbera daisies are one of these, and they’re one of the prettiest plants. While most houseplant turn carbon dioxide into oxygen during the daylight hours and sleep at night, Gerbera daisies keep producing oxygen all throughout the night, helping us breathe better while we sleep.
5. Write out a list for tomorrow.
Spend a few minutes before bed to plan out your day for tomorrow, and write a list of the most important things you will have to do. Mental notes and lists can make us feel overwhelmed, forgetful, and stressed. Writing them out on paper can help us think more clearly, solve problems easier, and calm our minds for a restful night’s sleep.
6. Get your clothes out for tomorrow.
Just the simple act of getting your clothes out for tomorrow will help you feel a step ahead and ready for the day to come.
7. Break out the Lavender oil.
Lavender oil is best known for its calming and relaxing effects on the body. Add some pampering into your nighttime ritual by placing some drops of Lavender oil on your pillow, or diffusing into the air.
Stretching is something that we all love to do in the morning to wake our bodies up, but it’s also great to do at night. Light, simple stretches relax our muscles and relieve the tension they have encountered throughout the day for more restful sleep.
9. Give yourself a scalp massage – or have someone else give you one.
A scalp massage is so relaxing and pampering. It relieves tension, headaches and produces a feeling of peace and overall well-being. Scalp massagers are awesome.
10. Be grateful.
It’s like saying your prayers at night. Practice gratitude and reflect on the things that you are thankful for. It gives you a great sense of positivity and is a happy way to end your day.