So, to continue the Feelin’ SoFabulous quest I have started, I’m continuing on with trying to improve the sleep that I get – I’m finding that it’s still taking me too long to fall asleep and then I’m waking up very early but not feeling refreshed and by lunch time I’m dragging. A few weeks ago, I shared some tips for getting a good night’s sleep. Now I’ve taken them and expanded on them to form my own bedtime routine.
Here’s what I’ve started to implement for my night time routines and they are already having a positive effect on helping me drift off to sleep. This looks like a lot but I’ve included the maximum times I spend on each step to show you that it’s really not a lot.
- I take a warm bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salts baths are something I used to do regularly after my car accident following the advice of my physiotherapist, massage therapist, and acupuncturist and for some reason I got away from them. They are soothing to my body and spirit and are said to help flush out some of the toxins in your body. I usually turn on some quiet, relaxing music, light a candle, and place a cool damp cloth over my eyes while I lie back in the tub to unwind. (20 minutes)
- Follow up the bath with a self massage with my favourite body lotion or cream. I have a bath chair (with my back/hip injuries, I can be prone to falling) so I generally sit on the chair and stay in the tub (drained) for this procedure so that I’m ready for the next step. You could sit on the edge of the tub or perhaps pull up a chair or stool next to your tub. (5 minutes)
- Hold my feet under cold running water in the tub for a few minutes. I don’t know why this works but it does. A friend of mine taught it to me and it’s amazing how much better I feel after doing this. If I can only complete one of the items on this list, this is the one I never leave out. If you’ve been on your feet all day and they’re sore and achy, this can really help ease the pain. (2 minutes)
- Rub my feet vigorously with a towel to dry them off and continue increasing the blood flow there. Massage with a foot cream. (3 minutes)
- I then use my old standby – the pool noodle stretch. Take your basic pool noodle, place it on the floor (if you’re not able to lie on the floor, you can do this on the bed but it’s not quite as effective) and lie on it so that it is running right down your spine. This opens up your chest and stretches out your back. While I lie there, I do some breathing exercises and allow my mind to just wander (my version of meditating). (10 minutes)
- Before I get into bed, I spray some Febreze Sleep Serenity. The scent can really help relax me and help me drift off to sleep. Sometimes I also sprinkle some cornstarch in my bed – I learned this trick when I was in hospital. It can really feel lovely against your skin and if it’s a warm night, it will help relieve that “sticky” feeling. (Under a minute)
- Once I’m in bed, I try to get rid of any residual muscle stiffness by doing contraction/relaxation sequences. Doing one body part at a time (each arm, each leg, your stomach, your face, your buttocks, each hand, each foot, and so on), tighten the muscles in that body part and hold for a few seconds before releasing. The conscious release of the muscles can be really relaxing and help ease any muscle tension you have. (10 minutes)
- To let go of any stressful experiences that may have occurred throughout my day, I go through a review of my day in my head. If you’re religious, this can take the form of a simple examination of conscience but for all of us, a simple release of anything that may have gone wrong, as well as acknowledgement and thanks for what went right can really help clear your mind before sleep. I follow this by thinking about the day to come tomorrow and envisioning what would make for the best day possible. (10 minutes)
- I’m trying to train myself to fall asleep on the right side. First off, I’m naturally a stomach sleeper – yeah I know. It’s not good for me or for my back so sleeping on my side would be so much better for me in that way. But I’ve also read something about how lying on your right side is better for your internal organs as other positions can “compress” them a bit. I don’t know if any of that is true, but hey, I figure that sleeping on my right side can’t be any worse for me than stomach sleeping right?
All in all, it takes about an hour to complete and it’s well worth every second.
What about you? Do you have any special bedtime routines that help you get a good night’s sleep?