I generally don’t have trouble falling to sleep at night. It’s actually one of the easiest things for me to do. With the demands of a full-time job, two kids, a ministry, getting to sleep at night comes pretty easy. I realized, however, there is a difference in how I feel in the morning when I get sleep versus a good night’s rest. When I feel really good in the mornings, I don’t tend to think about how much sleep I got. Instead I think about how rested I feel which is super important to me. I can get a lot of sleep and actually not feel energized enough to tackle my to-do list. When I’m rested, I feel energized physically, mentally, and I’m ready to focus and get my day started.
Because today’s modern woman is very ambitious and goal-oriented, I wanted to share this blog post on the 7 things you can do to boost your mornings and make your day more productive. While morning routines are very important, it is only half of a productive day; the other is the evening routine that precedes it. Ensuring our bodies get the proper rest is one of the best ways to do self-care, yet it can be the first thing that is forfeited for the sake of checking off all the tasks for the day.
I’ve learned that one of the best things you can do is set a time at which you will be to slow down for the night and prepare for a good night rest. While going through these steps, at time you have determined you are ready to start your night routine, first, dim your natural light and reduce blue light. That means, shut down the electronics and no bright lights. Depending on what helps you relax (minus mindless surfing the net, social media, or tv) and signals your body to start producing that wonderful sleep hormone, melatonin, dimming the lights is an easy way to start the process.
1 | Read a book or magazine
Pick up one of your favorite leisure books and start reading. Avoid using your reading device like the iPad or Kindle. The blue light emitted from the screen actually stimulates your brain rather than slows it down and relaxes it. So go for the classic touch, feel, and hear the page flip kind of book or magazine.
2 | Do a brain dump
Brain dumps are an excellent way to clear the mind of all the clutter and thoughts. Be sure you don’t make this a brainstorming exercise or you might get caught up in this process and stay up longer than you anticipated because you can’t stop thinking about it. Brain dumps may consist of creating a to-do list for the next day, journaling your thoughts, or jotting down your ideas that you may want to explore later.
3 | Drink hot herbal tea or warm milk
If you choose to do this, do it early enough in your routine so that you’ve given your body time to reap the herbal benefits of the tea and go to bathroom before you get some sleep. I like to read and sip tea in the bed, but there are times I just sit back and savor the tea all by itself. The warmth from the cup, the steam from the water, and the smell of the herbs does the trick for me.
Warm milk is a great relaxing alternative to herbal tea. Although it’s not the common go-to drink for a nighttime ritual, it’s extremely effective. Warm milk releases the amino acid, tryptophan, which promotes relaxation. If you don’t like regular milk, try soy or almond milk and spruce it up with cinnamon and the sedating -spice, nutmeg.
4 | Use an essential oil
Start this early in your nighttime routine as week in order to reap the benefits of the oil. I love using essential oils in my home at night and during the day. There are many oils that are known to promote rest. You can use a single blend, DIY your own blend, or get a pre-mixed combination. Some of my favorites include lavender, yang yang, and bergamot.
A few ways to use essential oil is to
- Use a diffuser - my favorite method
- Blend the oil with a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba and rub it on your body
- Directly place the oil in the palm of your hand, warm it by rubbing your hands together and inhale.
- Add it to warm bath and soak
5 | Meditate
There are many ways you can meditate, but what I’m talking about here is silencing out all the noise, praying, and reflecting on what you’re grateful for. Our brains could benefit from all the mental stimulation and just unwind naturally. If you’re not used to just being in the moment and getting a good dose of peace and quiet, you must try this. This is really easy for introverts. Meditation invites peace and calm into your environment which has a direct affect on your brain. It relieves stress and reduces anxiety. Do this for a minutes each day and it will come with ease.
6 | Light Stretches
Get all the kinks out from a long and busy day. Most working individuals don’t have good posture and that can create all types of muscular pain. Do a few light stretches to reduce back and neck pain and a comfortable leg and arm stretch just to get the tension out of your muscles.
7 | Now all you have to do is just lay down and relax.
How do you unwind and destress from a busy day? What's your most favorite or easiest way to relax?
Psalm 127:2, It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.