SLEEP BETTER TONIGHT: RELAXATION RITUAL
Our modern lives can be stressful and overscheduled with too many things to get done in a day. As a result, we often don’t allow ourselves time to wind down at the end of the day. This can affect the quality of our sleep and our ability to fall asleep at night naturally.
So, I encourage you to create your own relaxation ritual. Devote a full hour before bedtime to engage in relaxing activities that you enjoy. The main idea is to choose things that you find satisfying and deeply relaxing and avoid activities that are overly stimulating or upsetting.
And if it helps, schedule it—actually block out time on your calendar. You might think that sounds indulgent but you’re worth it! You will improve your sleep, reduce stress and improve your mood by taking time for yourself.
Ideas for Creating a Relaxation Ritual:
- Unplug, literally and mentally – turn off the TV, put away devices, stop thinking about work
- Avoid stressful, upsetting emotions
- Wind down with relaxing activities:
- Reconnecting with partner
- Deep breathing, body scan or progressive relaxation exercises
- Meditation or prayer
- Guided meditation or visualization exercise
- Gentle/restorative yoga or stretching
- Herbal tea
- Music: playing or listening
- Writing in journal
- Gratefulness exercise: write down 3 things you’re grateful for; this can improve mood and overall happiness
- Reading, listening to audiobooks
To get you started, check out the website for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. It’s a great resource for free, guided breathing, meditation and relaxation exercises: UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center
By: Lisa Henderson, MS, RDN, CD