We all deserve to rest, but it can be hard to wind down, especially when we need it most after a stressful day. While there are many strategies, apps, and tips to try, I have found that what works best for me is having a routine. Whether I stretch, meditate, journal, or read, this is the routine that works for me:
- An hour before I want to sleep, I start to wind down by getting ready for bed; changing clothes, brushing my teeth, doing a skin-care routine, and cleaning up my work from the day. During this time, I think about letting go of the day and focusing on the present — my only job is to get ready to sleep.
- When that is done, I like to relax in my room and do something pleasant; depending on my mood or energy, I will read, listen to music, journal, draw, or participate in an art or craft. This is the time that I take to do something just for me, something that will help to put me in a better mood or feed my soul.
- By this point, I usually have around ten minutes before bed; I will use the remaining time to reflect on the day. I have one book with daily reflections that I like to read, and before finally going to bed, I take time to think about something I was grateful for that day. Sometimes, I change this depending on what I need in the moment; for example, if I am overwhelmed with school or am unable to do everything I wanted to do, I will think about at least one meaningful thing I did that day.
- Lastly, if I feel like I need it, I will listen to a short meditation while going to sleep. If I am not tired before this, I certainly am relaxed and ready to sleep after taking this time to honor my body and mind.
When seeing this routine in writing, it seems pretty long, but really, it’s not; often, this is my most treasured part of the day, and it goes by quickly. Your routine may not look like this, but I encourage you to really think about what would help you to sleep better; when you do find something that works for what you need, the benefits are beyond worth the effort.