Evening Rituals to Welcome Restful Sleep
As vata season brings with it cooler temperatures, a crisp breeze and shorter days, it's important to optimize our self-care rituals in order to help offset the potential for any seasonal imbalances. There's a reason that we no longer crave cooling foods in favor of warm root vegetables, as they provide an abundance of grounding nourishment. Our body naturally begins to tense up, and hibernating under a pile of cozy blankets sounds like the ideal evening. (And, usually is.)
Starting the evening wind-down process early allows you to prepare for a restful night's sleep. Embrace those quiet moments and savor the solitude with these simple evening rituals that will set you up nicely for some serious shut-eye.
Ayurvedic practices favor herbs to reinforce immunity and strength. Blending them into warming nighttime beverages may improve the quality of your sleep and calm the nervous system. Sip yourself into a relaxed state by whipping together a homemade Golden Milk Latte. Blend warm water or almond milk with ashwagandha, turmeric, coconut butter and a dash of freshly ground black pepper, which enhances the bioavailability of curcumin (the main ingredient in turmeric).
Aromatherapy, Candles + Smudging
The use of specific essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and frankincense before bedtime further assists in relieving stress, relaxing the body and promoting restful sleep. Mist on the face, body and sheets, roll on to pressure points such as wrists, collarbone and temples, or custom blend and diffuse to create a nurturing bedtime ritual.
Dim the lights and use candles as a way to limit your exposure to bright lights that may disrupt your natural circadian rhythm. Keep himalayan salt lamps in your bedroom to purify the air and reduce harmful electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Additionally, both candles and salt lamps invite in feminine energy and create a tranquil ambiance.
Sage smudging is a potent ritual that assists in clearing out the negative energy in a room. It's said that the smoke from dried sage actually changes the ionic composition of the air and can have a direct effect on reducing our stress response. Wave the sage bundle across the doorway and into all corners of your bedroom, allowing it to burn out on its own. Try the ritual of smudging whenever washing or changing the sheets, or any time that you feel there's negative energy to clear.
Gentle Movement + Meditation
Intense physical forms of exercise can easily aggravate vata, therefore slow and gentle activities such as restorative yoga are more appropriate. Use your own pillows and blankets as props and focus on calming the mind by taking deep, fluid breaths. One of the simplest techniques that offers a wealth of benefits is the propping of your legs flush against a wall or the foot of your bed. This allows for the blood to flow in the opposite direction, improving circulation while also helping to relieve symptoms of insomnia. This is so wonderful at the end of the day when stagnant energy may have built up, especially if you are on your feet for extended periods of time.
Set aside 10-15 minutes to meditate in silence or in the company of calming music. It has a profoundly grounding effect and allows you to detach from the day's events and any heightened emotions in order to shift into a state of relaxation and peace.
By aligning ourselves with the rhythm of nature and welcoming techniques that assist in our overall wellbeing, we're more likely to experience gratitude and great abundance. Allow these simple evening rituals to serve as a small investment towards your overall health and help bring you balance, rejuvenation and deep, restful sleep.
From one insomniac to the next, be well + sleep well. xx