I’m pretty sure you don’t call things 1.0 in software. You just have the name, then when you come out with a new one it’s 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, etc. But I like the title so I’m sticking with it.
One of my goals for the month is to develop a bedtime routine to prep myself for a restful sleep. Here’s what I’ve been doing so far:
1. Tea – I come from a family of tea-lovers. I find that a nice, warm cup of tea in the evening is just soothing. My routine starts with making a cup of tea, obviously something without caffeine. For the most part I’ve been doing decaf mint green tea, but I’d like to experiment a bit with some other herbal teas that have “sleep” or “sleepy” in the name. It just seems right.
2. Tidy – My bedroom is essentially a dumping ground for all of my belongings. Thus, it gets cluttered pretty easily. Clutter creates stress. So, by taking 5 minutes in my evening to fold clothes and put things away, my sleeping environment is much more peaceful. Also, having a non-cluttered space makes for much more peaceful mornings – side benefit!
3. Light – After tidying (for which I need some light) I turn of my lights and light a calming lavender candle. Lavender is supposed to be a very soothing scent. I got my candle at Whole Foods, and it is scented with essential oils. Did you know many commercial candles and air fresheners are basically toxic and xenoestrogen disasters? Go natural – buy an essential oil scented candle. My candle smells amazing and gives me just enough light to carry out the rest of my routine. I really like easing into darkness this way.
4. Stretch and Roll – I spend some time stretching out my calves, and doing some shoulder and hip openers. Do you sit or stand at a desk all day? If you sit, your hips are in a nearly constant state of being shortened and tight, so I recommend you do some hip opening stretches. If you type on a keyboard all day (or are a marathon pianist?), I also recommend doing some shoulder and pectoral openers. I’ll post some of my favorites soon. I also spend a couple of minutes doing general foam rolling, back, hamstrings, calves, and quads.
5. Move – I also take this time to do some isometric exercises that my Muscle Activation Technique specialist (aka The Wizard) gave me for my shoulder. Wait, you don’t know what Muscle Activation Techniques are? Well, keep your pants on because I’ll be posting about my experience with it next week. Isometric exercises work to activate and strengthen weak muscles. More to come on that, but the point is, I take this time to restore my body.
6. Hunker – After my stretching and mobility work is done, I polish off the last of my tea (which I sip throughout all of the above) and crawl into bed. I spend a little bit of time forcing my dog to cuddle with me (she is not, much to my dismay, a cuddler. So I force it upon her.) Then I curl up on my side and pass out.
Overall, I’m settling nicely into the routine. I don’t think that it’s had a Pavlov’s Dog type of effect yet, but I believe it may. I’ve really enjoyed having the dedicated time to stretching and mobility, which I have not consistently made time for in the past. The Wizard told me that the body regenerates from 10pm-2am, so stretching and doing mobility work prior to bedtime allows our body to regenerate in a more lengthened, mobile state. I like the sound of that.
So that’s the progress thus far on the bedtime routine. Does anyone have anything they use to wind down?