2.16.2021

A Bedtime Routine for Worry-less Sleep

Restful sleep. What a concept. 
The boundaries between home life and work life couldn't be more blurred. It doesn't help that the sun goes down at 5 o'clock or that there's not much else to do when it's negative zero outside after a long day of Zoom meetings. I have always been good about my sleep, or else I'll have to suffer the next day and no one wants a grumpy Natalie. As a college student, I've also realized that I have way more energy and motivation to do things at night, but I fall the brunt of not giving myself the time to wind down, decompress, and fully relax. 

With everything going on in the world, I have revalued my need for a restful sleep, coming to terms with those thought clouds, and maintaining a routine that actually works and allows me to wake up fully rested and ready to get on with whatever the day may bring. I would consider myself as someone who wants to make the most of my days. If I sleep in too long, I'll feel unproductive, guilty, and like I can't get into the rhythm of whatever I need to accomplish. However, I also know that I need to allow myself to rest when I really need it. Establishing these boundaries, especially for sleep, is something that a good friend taught me—I think we can all adapt healthier and more mindful ways to get some more hours to snooze. 
Before Bed...
I've shared some of my past bedtime routines and they usually consist of doing the normal humanly tasks: brushing my teeth, getting on comfy clothes, putting on some yummy lotion, maybe making some tea, doing a face mask etc. I try to make sure I allow myself some time to just prep for a good night's sleep. Refilling my water, playing some lo-fi tunes, and grabbing as many extra blankets I have on hand is always a bedtime necessity. Sleep is such a normal thing, so why should it be so hard to do sometimes? 

Well, as someone who has struggled with mental health blips and anxiety, I find that dealing with the never-ending cycle of flurrying thoughts in my mind can be put to rest if I focus on my breathing and remember that I have no time to waste on dwelling on what I can and can't control. The mediation app, Headspace, has really helped me focus on my breathing, putting the traffic of my thoughts in front of me, and watching them drive by until I am sound asleep. I've even fallen asleep during a guided meditation, so I can whole heartedly say that this app is worth it

Sometimes when my bedtime routine needs some reinforcements, I like to read myself to sleep. So, instead of staring at Tik Tok before bed and having the blue light over stimulate my mind, I've been really into reading lately just to get my head ready for bed. I've also heard a lot about the Olly Sleep Gummies which are naturally-derived melatonin supplements and they have really made a difference in allowing me to get to sleep quicker and wake up refreshed, too. 
If catching some Z's is hard for you, I get it. This past year has altered all of our normal routines, so I would highly recommend creating boundaries for yourself before bedtime. Allot a couple of hours to decompress, do some self care, and remember that sleep is a necessary thing for us to live and function at our fullest potential. I know a lot of people who LOVE sleep, and I have to give it to them, a warm and cozy bed can cure anything. What's your bedtime routine like and how has it changed? 

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