What’s bedtime like for you? Do you snuggle in for the night with ease, or do you lie awake wondering what you’re going to eat for breakfast the next day, who you need to text back, your next oil change… You get the point.
Regardless of what you’ve got going on in that mental soundtrack of yours, you’re not alone in your quest for better sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 50-70 million people living in America struggle with sleep disorders. Lack of sleep is not only a major inconvenience for our productivity and clarity, but it can also lead to some real health issues, including depression, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. And while prescription pills are an option, there are also numerous holistic alternatives that may be more up your alley. Experiment with different tricks to find the routine that works best for you.
Consider a bedtime supplement.
Is your brain swarming with visions of to-do lists and potential Instagram captions? Quell that racing mind with some natural supplements, like calcium, melatonin, or magnesium. One of our top picks for sleep and relaxation is magnesium citrate, a strand great for promoting mental and physical relaxation. You can find it as a supplement, or use the powdered version to mix into water or tea. Add a warm bath to the equation and you’re set up for nighttime success.
Focus on your breath.
Focusing on the breath seems so natural and innate that we tend to underestimate its power. Don’t let this be the case. The next time you’re suffering from a lack of sleep, lie down on your bed with your arms resting at your sides and close your eyes. Breathe in for four slow counts, hold your breath at the top for four counts, then breathe out for eight slow counts. Repeat. Luxuriating in that long exhale should help shift you into a deep slumber.
Embrace your inner witch.
Herbal elixirs are a simple and fun way to take care of your body—not to mention they can make you feel like one of the girls from Charmed. One of our top bedtime elixirs is a golden milk latte. The star ingredient of golden milk is turmeric, which reduces inflammation, has antibacterial properties that boost immunity, and helps with joint pain.
To make a golden milk latte, simply warm some of your favorite type of milk and add it to a blender with a generous sprinkle of turmeric powder (or fresh turmeric root if you’re super witchy), cinnamon, ginger, and a pinch of black pepper to activate the turmeric. Other fabulous sleep inducing recipes include Ashwagandha moon milk or reishi hot chocolate. Do your research and document your favorites—all good witches have their spellbooks!
Get comfy with journaling.
Journaling can be a great way to release your frustrations or express gratitude before bed. This simple act of writing down your thoughts has been found to help with depression, mood, productivity, and stress.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s a prompt everyone will love: Before bed, write down three things that happened that day that you feel grateful for—big things or small. Sometimes it can feel difficult to find something, and that’s totally okay. It can be as simple as “I made my train on time.” Finding small moments of gratitude and documenting them can help us retrain our thoughts to focus on the positive, and ultimately make it easier to sleep.
Our sense of smell is primal, powerful, and can be hacked to our advantage when it comes to getting better sleep. Consider investing in some high quality essential oils and a diffuser; some popular oils for bedtime are lavender, rose, geranium, vanilla, jasmine, sandalwood, and citrus. You can pick one or mix and match to find your very own special blend. If a diffuser is not your thing, you can still get the benefits by applying oils directly to the skin, adding a few drops to a bath, or making your own mist.
Wind down with bedtime yoga.
No matter how busy the day might be, consider making space for a 5-10 minute stretch in the comfort of your own bed, preferably on a good quality mattress that’s free of toxins and chemicals, like Avocado Green Mattress. Investing in a non-toxic mattress supports the environment and aligns with your yoga practice by helping to make strides towards your own personal wellness. What makes a mattress non-toxic, you ask? A non-toxic mattress is Greenguard Gold certified, meaning it meets super rigorous tests to ensure it won’t off-gas in your home. Avocado Green mattresses are also handmade from organic cotton, natural latex, wool (or a vegan version without wool!), and they’re biodegradable and recyclable. Oh, and they’re a haven for cozy comfort. Perfect for sleeping, cuddling, and yoga.
Here’s a good sequence for all levels: Begin in child’s pose with your knees spread wide, big toes touching, and torso draping on your bed. Press up to table top and flow through a few rounds of cat and cow, doming your spine up towards your ceiling, and dropping your belly low. Next, make your way to your back for happy baby, grabbing the inside or outside of your feet and pulling your knees down toward your armpits. Lastly, extend your left leg out long and squeeze your right knee into your chest. Take an inhale, as you exhale go for a supine twist, crossing your knee over to the left and melting your shoulders into your bed. Switch out your legs and take this on the other side. This is great for stimulating digestion, detoxifying your body, and slowing down before beddy-bye.
Are you a big spoon or a little spoon? Doesn’t really matter, because a gravity blanket takes care of everyone. Gravity blankets are weighted blankets that provide stimulation to pressure points on your body to help calm down your central nervous system, promote relaxation, and alleviate stress and anxiety. The recommended weight is about 10 percent of your body weight—enough to provide gentle support, but not so much that it feels like you’re trapped. Weighted blankets have been proven to increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain, thus gifting you a more restful night’s sleep, or at the very least a warm and cozy hug.
Can’t sleep when you’re too hot? There’s a scientific reason for this. When you’re lying in bed, your body naturally lowers its temperature to help induce sleep. If your room is too warm, it makes your body work that much harder to rectify your internal temperature, therefore potentially disrupting sleep. The recommended sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for some optimal shut eye. (If that’s too cold for you, you have your weighted blanket to keep you warm!)
At the end of the day (pun intended), you really have to focus on what feels right for your body. Begin by slowing down and tuning in to what your body needs—the more you listen to its requests, the more likely your chances of dozing off into dreamland.