Bedtime ritual: 10 ideas for creating your own.
Do you want to prepare yourself for a good night's sleep, do something good for yourself or change your habits a little? We have selected 10 things to do at night. Try them out one by one for a few days and build up your routine with those that really work.
Turn off the screens.
Because blue light prevents the secretion of melatonin, a hormone essential to the regulation of our waking and sleeping rhythms. Because we've already looked at them all day and our eyes are crying out for a break. Because we could scroll until the alarm clock rings. For all these reasons, we take a second (literally) to turn off all screens at least an hour before we go to sleep.
And for all the evenings we spend with them anyway, we treat ourselves to a pair of anti-blue light glasses. You can also download f.lux. All you have to do is indicate your wake-up time and this free application will gradually adjust the colour of your screens in the evening, until all blue light is blocked.
Drink an infusion of lavender.
The calming properties of these small purple flowers are well known. What is less well known is that lavender does not only act on the nervous system. It also promotes digestion and can relieve certain migraines. If you drink it just for its comforting scent, that counts too.
Intense physical activity, which stimulates the production of cortisol, is not recommended in the evening. However, it's a good idea to relieve tension before bedtime. Shoulders contracted from stress, legs numb and backs tense from sitting all day will appreciate it.
You can review the stretches you learned in Pilates class on your mat or directly on your bed if you have a firm enough mattress. As long as you don't warm up your body too much, all you have to do is close your eyes and fall asleep.
Read a book.
You know, that object composed of a series of paper pages, bound together, on which a text is printed. It doesn't emit light, you have to turn the pages yourself and it has no other function than to transport us to a thousand leagues away from our daily lives or to the closest of ourselves. Perfect for a smooth transition from reality to dreams. This is what we liked to read this summer if you are you're looking for some ideas.
The whole body when you have time. If it's already late, just the face. The benefits of a massage include lowering cortisol levels and slowing the heart rate, both of which are essential for falling asleep.
If you sleep with someone else, you can obviously share this moment. If you sleep alone, you can also offer yourself a moment of relaxation. Massaging your temples, face, head and neck can make all the difference.
Closing your eyes and breathing deeply feels like sleep. But meditation is first and foremost a practice of paying attention to one's breathing, an image, a mantra... something other than one's thoughts, to learn not to identify with them. Yes, they will always come to distract us, but the more often we practice, the easier it is to choose those we want to listen. To get started, we can use an app and let it guide us.
A 2015 study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine(1) showed that mindfulness meditation reduces symptoms of insomnia and improves sleep quality. It's easy to see why the evening is a good time to meditate. There is no reason not to lie down and meditate (and let sleep take over) if you are very tired.
Write in your journal.
We often forget the therapeutic effects of writing by hand. The relief we feel when thoughts, emotions, questions become clearer on paper if they haven't left our heads. Just keep a notebook and a pen on your bedside table. The other advantage? You can also use its pages to write down your to do listand anything that keeps us awake at night because we don't want to forget it.
Diffuse essential oils.
Lavender, again. But also basil, sweet orange, marjoram or petit grain. Essential oils do more than just scent our room. Diffused night after night, their scents serve as a signal for the body and are enough to make our eyelids heavy.
To make the most of their properties, we prefer a cold diffuser, ideally by nebulization, which does not alter the oils. Small reminder: the use of essential oils is not recommended during pregnancy.
Air out your room.
Opening the window for a few moments renews the air that you will breathe all night and refreshes the room temperature. When we know that to fall asleep, the body must cool down by about half a degree, we can only recommend this ritual.
Listen to a relaxing playlist.
If you find the album Sleep album is soporific, it's all the better. The musician collaborated with neuroscientist David Eagleman to compose more than 8 hours of music, which is supposed to put us into a restful sleep. The album was even performed at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2017. Installed on cots rather than armchairs, the audience was lulled to sleep by the orchestra for an entire night. For our room, we'll rely on Spotify instead.
Sometimes you'll need to adapt your bedtime ritual to your environment, especially if it's noisy.