You might be thinking, what does "sleep hygiene" actually mean?
Like any form of hygiene, these are practices that help us maintain cleanliness, support optimal health, and nourish our inner and outer well-being, particularly around a sleep routine, which is truly of top importance for so many reasons.
We floss, we brush, we meditate… it only makes sense that we create daily routines around our rest, as well! So let's discuss more about what this sleep routine involves, and some questions you can begin to ask yourself, to help create your own!
Why is Sleep Hygiene Important?
Getting sound, restful sleep is crucial for our overall health, and a lack of sleep can impact our brain and body in profound ways…studies have shown it can even impact women more detrimentally!
From lack of focus and trouble concentrating, weight gain, immune system suppression, an over-reliance on stimulants (like caffeine and sugar), imbalanced blood sugar, and an increased risk of illness and disease, ensuring we get enough rest each evening helps us lower our stress levels, soothe our nervous systems and replenish our energy to embody our greatness each day.
Creating sacred sleep rituals for yourself can also be a great way to prioritize self-care and ensure you make your dream space a place of true relaxation.
Understanding your Sleep Routine
Just like with nature, there is a rhythm to our days. We're so often swept up in the go-go-go of life, but creating spaciousness and pause helps us stay balanced, focused and grounded within the strength of our true selves. This means that our daily routine not only benefits the other hours of our waking life, it also benefits the hours of our sleeping life and becomes a preparation for sleep - all day long. And sleep becomes the place where we regenerate, rejuvenate and replenish our batteries. To dream, to connect with God, our angels, or even just stillness.
What are some ways to prepare yourself for restful sleep, while you’re navigating your day?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Become aware of how you begin your morning. Is it with a smile, or do you immediately turn to your phone? Starting your day with a smile, screen-free, or with a few moments to ourselves, intentionally, can set our day onto a foot of joy and gratitude.
- Stay hydrated, by drinking lots of water (and tea!) throughout the day
- Prioritize movement - whether through stretching, cardio or other exercise, especially if you find yourself sitting for long periods of time
- Aim for at least one meaningful conversation during the day with someone you love
- Eat foods that nourish you, regularly
- Journal your thoughts (morning and/or night)
- Practice staying leisurely and open to flow, while finding freedom in your routine
Creating your Sacred Sleep Space
Next, we bring our attention to our actual sleep space. What is the environment currently, and how does it contribute to restful sleep? Fine-tuning the details of your personal sleep space can help prepare you for greater rest.
Here are some areas of focus and inquiry:
- Bedding is important. Opt for natural fabrics and comfortable sheets, blankets, mattress and pillow, to give maximum comfort, in colors that soothe and appeal to you.
- Wear pajamas that inspire you, that make you feel beautiful, cozy, and that feel good against your skin.
- Take note of the lighting. Don't leave things too bright, or too dim, find a setting that is soothing and supportive for that in-between space between wakefulness and rest. Can you put things on dimmers for greater ease?
- Notice what you fall asleep seeing. What do you wake up seeing? Do you bask in an altar space? Are you surrounded by clutter? How quickly do you turn to a screen? How can these spaces be adjusted to support more relaxation?
- What do you fall asleep hearing, or wake up hearing? Again, what could be adjusted here?
- Do you have any plants or flowers around, or near your bedside? Any art that inspires you on the walls?
- What are the sounds and scents around you? Are there candles or essential oils? Choose chemical-free options that help create a pure sleep space.
As you begin to create and refine your sleep space - from the bed you lay in to the tables, floor, and walls around you, remember to continually check in and clarify:
- Does this soothe me?
- Does this make me feel sensual?
- Does this inspire me?
- Does this relax me?
- Does this help me feel calm?
Exploring your Sleep Practices
Ultimately, anything we do becomes a practice. When we can view our sleep routine as a sacred practice, much like any other practice in our lives, it enhances every other area of our life in return. So reflect upon your days, really let yourself take inventory of your life. Practice writing the 3-5 things you feel most grateful for each day. Write a question you would like to dream the answer or solution to, that plants a seed for revelations within your dream space. Practice intentional breathing - as you prepare for sleep and as you move through your day. Practice visualizing the fruits of your heart’s calling, and the life of your dreams. A phrase with so many layers now! ;) Ultimately, find the joy that comes through this exploration, in knowing that you're taking greater care of yourself, as you go.
Other rituals you can explore before bed are:
- Baths: Let yourself bask in a bath! If you’re not a bath lover (or don’t have a bathtub), perhaps a long, hot shower is your jam! Explore with epsom salts to soothe achy muscles, or essential oils for aromatherapy! Perhaps you light a candle, put on some soothing music…whatever helps you become more intentional and connected as you wind yourself down for the day.
- Additional tools: Other accouterments as you wind down are ear plugs (if desired), shea butter or lotions for skin hydration and nourishment while you sleep, brushing and flossing (flossing being a critical component to our overall health as well!)
Do you Wake Throughout the Night?
If you're one of the many who wake throughout the night, the particular time frame you find yourself waking up in, could be trying to tell you something!
While carving out a more intentional sleep routine will absolutely support sounder sleep across the board, here are a few insights as to what occurs when our body wakes us up at certain times throughout the night.
9 PM - 11 PM; Heart-focus: Assuming you're an "early to bed" person, this window of time connects to our endocrine and lymphatic systems, and can signal feelings of depression, sadness or hopelessness when out of balance. You might feel manic, imbalanced (emotionally and hormonally) or even totally burn out. Symptoms can include headaches, chills or point to the lymph nodes and thyroid. Make sure you prioritize calm wind-down time for yourself, particularly in the hours right before sleep.
11 PM - 1 AM; Gallbladder: Our Gallbladder energetically correlates to feelings of indecisiveness, as this organ rules our decision-making processes and aids in our digestion. Proper gut health connects back to our mental health and cognitive functions, so imbalance here can trigger everything from high-cholesterol, erratic sleep, rash decisions, timidness and poor judgment. Focus on nourishing your gut health - and stay aware of your alcohol consumption, as well as fatty and spicy foods, particularly right before bed.
1 AM - 3 AM; Liver: The Liver is a primary organ of detoxification, and this includes "detoxing" our emotions (certainly processing them). Prioritize calming your emotional space before bed, as being able to process things healthily through our liver supports our tendons, nails, eyes and even correlates back to digestive health as well. Avoid bottling up your anger or frustration, particularly as you wind down for rest, as this can exacerbate blood pressure, increase headaches, and even worsen PMS symptoms. Again, moderate alcohol and food consumption right before bed, make sure you get plenty of movement throughout your day (or stretch a bit in the evening), and focus on swapping out coffee consumption for tea!3 AM - 5 AM: Lungs: While our lungs are the gateway to our breath, while also being connected to our immune system and even our skin, sadness and grief can be held here. This creates shortness or tightness of breath, fatigue, suppressed immune system symptoms, and feelings of depression. Practice breathing exercises before bed, or a soothing mindfulness practice featuring meditation or yoga. Focus on expanding breath capacity and letting go of heavy feelings as you can, before you rest. Journaling is another pathway for release here, or connecting with a loved one.
The Benefits of Tea for Sleep
Finally let's chat about our herbal sleep ally...Tea! A cup of tea is a sacred invitation and ritual, for morning or night. Beneficial for soothing the nervous system, nourishing our adrenals and helping to replenish adrenal fatigue, calming our digestion, feeding us with beneficials polyphenols, flavonoids, antioxidants and inflammation-fighters, there is a tea for any mood, muse or wellness need!
All of our Magic Hour teas are of the most pristine quality, and include the finest teas, fruits, flowers, herbs and spices, alchemized for optimal potency, to nourish you inside and out.
Some of our favorite sleep-supportive blends include:
- Child’s Pose: featuring Organic Krishna Tulsi, Rose & Lavender Blossoms, Pacific Northwest Peppermint, this tea is like a soothing hug, akin to a child’s pose in yoga.
- Aquamarine: blended specifically to provide deep adrenal replenishment, this blend alchemizes Organic Chamomile, Ashwagandha, Lemon Myrtle, Passion Flower, Skullcap and Linden for nervous system soothing and deep, restful dreams.
- Lucid Dreams: this blend is a soothing, caffeine-free, anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic turmeric-tulsi-tea with notes of Cardamom, Cinnamon and Orange Peel
Explore our full list of evening herbal potions here.
Here's to Sweet Steeping, Sacred Rituals, and Restful Sleep!