Have you been having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
The CDC (Centers For Disease Control) reports that 35.2% of adults in the U.S. get less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Not only that, but a Sleep Foundation poll found that almost half of all Americans report feeling sleepy during the day. The recent pandemic hasn’t helped.
Reasons for having trouble sleeping or staying asleep could be due to:
-being disturbed by noises (pet, traffic, weather, children)
-being disturbed by a partner’s snoring or movement
-uncomfortable bed or pillows
-hormones (hot flashes)
-medications (decongestants, steroids, SSRI’s, blood pressure medications, diuretics)
Whatever the reason is that you are not sleeping, rituals can help
A ritual is an action you perform to increase the intention, and it boosts your motivation for a habit you are trying to build. When you set an intention to sleep better, and you make it your focus, you will get better rest. Start your bedtime rituals an hour before you need to be asleep, if possible. Here are a few rituals to try.
- Take a bath- Just like you probably were given a bath before bed as a child, you can try a bath before bed as an adult. Baths help lower your core body temperature and signal your body that it is time to rest. I like to add bath salts made with 1 cup of epsom salt, 1/4 cup of coconut oil or sweet almond oil, and 20 drops of essential oil. (I like lavender, geranium, grapefruit, copaiba, and bergamot. Blend a few to see what you like.) Store in a glass jar and add a few tablespoons to the running water as you draw your bath.
- Try a cup of herbal tea- Chamomile tea can reduce anxiety and help you fall asleep. Valerian root and lemon balm are good choices too. The warmth of the tea and the ritual of steeping helps signal your body for sleep.
- Read an inspiring book- Don’t read a page-turner, like a good murder mystery or romance, instead try a devotional or book about personal development. I’m reading The High 5 Habit, by Mel Robbins, and I loved Believe It, by Jamie Kern Lima. You’ll look forward to getting in your bed to read these!
- Journal- Try a gratitude journal. List 3-5 things you are grateful for that day. Studies show that looking for the good in life can lower stress, help you sleep better, and improve relationships.
- Have the same bedtime and wake time every day- This will reset your body’s circadian rhythm, your sleep-wake cycle. Before long, you won’t need an alarm and you’ll have plenty of energy!
How to create a ritual and not just a habit
You may have tried several of these rituals before, but did you treat them as an intention, or just a mindless habit? Habits are great, but they are not as powerful. Instead, try to be mindful and present. Imagine how the ritual will help improve your life. Picture that higher level self, the one that intentionally goes to bed at a time that allows for proper sleep. Picture the self that gets a great night of sleep and wakes up with great energy. You can start with just one of these things, and then add others as you like, remembering to stay intentional.
Let me know how these rituals work for you in the comments. Is there a ritual you love that I didn’t add?