9 Bedtime Rituals for Remarkable Sleep
God designed our bodies for rest and sleep is one natural way we were made to accomplish that. The physical process of sleep restores and repairs cellular function in the body, helps remove toxins from the circulatory system and muscles, and allows your brain to have some autopilot moments to slow down as your body stops for a while during those six to eight hours you slumber.
We were made to rest.
We were created to sleep and recharge.
But more than half of American adults say they experience sleep problems on a regular basis.
You don’t have to be one of them. The things you do before bed can determine whether you toss and turn or get a good night’s sleep.
I want to help you create bedtime rituals that will have you waking up every morning feeling refreshed and restored.
Jesus knows how badly we need to rest. He tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 to “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
And in Psalm 23:2-3 God shows His value for rest as He “…makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
The Lord wants to refresh us with sleep and I want to give you nine bedtime rituals for your body that can help prepare you for that rest:
Turn down the lights. Exposure to light causes your body to produce hormones that increase alertness, while darkness does the opposite. Turn off the TV, computer screens and tablets and phones at least an hour before bedtime, and close your window shades.
Bring it down a notch. Many individuals find that exercising late in the day disrupts their sleep. Devote your evenings to gentler activities, such as knitting, reading to your kids or practicing stress lowering breathing techniques.
Have a snack or treat. Certain foods and beverages promote sleep. Eat a light snack with protein and healthy carbohydrates, like an unsweetened whole grain cereal with milk. Treat yourself to a cup of chamomile tea. Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
Apply a fragrance. Lavender is an age-old remedy for insomnia. Keep a lavender plant on your nightstand. Sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball and slip it inside your pillowcase. Vanilla also has similar effect.
Give yourself a massage. Indulge in a self-massage. Use one foot to rub the other. Soak your hands in warm water. Gently rub each finger from the base to your fingertip. Move your thumb in circles on the palm of the opposite hand.
Warm up. Raising your body temperature induces drowsiness. Take a hot bubble bath or slip underneath a heavy blanket to relax your mind, body, and soul before bed.
Get into position. Sleep positions can work for or against you. If lying on your stomach is causing back troubles, place yourself on your back as soon as you get into bed. It will gradually become automatic.
Treat aches and pains. It’s hard to relax when your feet or shoulders are sore. Cover achy areas with a heating pad or hot water bottle and consider using essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint to refresh and loosen muscles.
Block out noise. Intrusive noises are everywhere, from car alarms in the city to crickets in the country. Turn on a fan or listen to a white noise machine to help you block out the noise.
Which bedtime ritual will you begin putting into practice this week? Journal for five days as you implement this new habit and write down how you feel the next morning after you wake up. Review what you’ve written on the sixth day and make note of what your body is saying to you. Next week consider a new bedtime ritual to try until you’ve experienced all nine. Write a comment below and share how the changes are affecting your life.