Do you ever feel like you’re not getting enough sleep? Your alarm goes off and you wish you had another 20 minutes, or an hour to lay in bed? Do you just straight up feel tired, or even exhausted?
According to the Center for Disease Control, “insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.” What?! That’s pretty huge.
So what’s your strategy to get rested? How are you going to start getting the sleep your body really needs to rest, heal, repair and thrive?
Pushing your limits, trying to fit in a few more things to accomplish, watching another episode, or just ignoring your needs and not getting into bed might be part of the reason you’re not feeling rested and energized the next day.
In the world of Ayurveda, what’s optimal is to align with the rhythms of nature: the cycle of energies each day and season.
From 6pm – 10pm the sweet, stabilizing, sensuous energies of Kapha dosha are predominant. As the sun is kissing the day goodbye and the evening turns to night, we’re best to follow suit and slowly turn down, too.
After a day’s work, it’s time to rest, relax, rejuvenate, and connect with the people around you. This sweet, softer nature helps to build ojas (immunity, glow) and prevent burn-out and exhaustion. It brings more satisfaction and contentment into your day, and life.
Aligning with the softer side in nature also helps us go harder and longer when we need to, such as the next work day.
After a nice evening in the garden, or hanging out with your loved ones, the next step is getting yourself into bed.
Just as most people wake up to an alarm and have a specific morning routine, I’ve crafted a very sweet evening ritual that helps me relax, release the day away and drift off into dreamland before it’s too late in the night.
So here’s my lovely ritual I want to share with you:
- 9pm my phone chimes as a reminder to start getting ready for bed
- take a shower
- abyhangha (self massage with oil) to moisturize my skin and relax my nervous system
- any other beauty treatment I might want to do that day
- get into bed
- close my eyes for a couple minutes to process any residual thoughts/feelings
- read my current book I’m loving (unless I’m too sleepy)
- turn off the lights and drift into dreamland whenever I feel tired
By regularly going to sleep at a more optimal bed time, the body is able to get the deep rest that it needs. For some people, it might take months or even years to restore, especially if they’ve over-used caffeine or have adrenal fatigue.
Eventually, the day can open up more time for you in the morning. As the sun rises, you have an opportunity to tap into the more spacious, expanding and spiritual qualities of the early morning.
All in the flow of the greater rhythm of the earth and sun.
The main trick to finding “success” in a more restorative evening practice and earlier bedtime, is to use the model laid out by BJ Fogg and have a reminder (such as an alarm) and a reward (such as time to read a book.) This facilitation of changing your behavior is what will alter your pattern to deliver new results —- deeper rest!
If you have any sweet tips or stories on your evening ritual and waking up refreshed, I’d love to hear! Send me an email or post in the comments below.
And may we all get the rest and rejuvenation we need to shine that much brighter!