As I have aged, I have found that sleep is a little more elusive than it used to be. I can’t nail down an exact cause, though I have one friend who will tell me I’m just getting old. =) I have, however, discovered that having a simple night time routine has helped. Somehow, the routine communicates to my body that it is time to start shutting down. It usually makes falling asleep much easier, and right now especially, when we are in different places often, doing the same routine each night keeps a sense of consistency. Another thing, I think, that helps me fall asleep.
I first get ready for bed by putting on my pajamas, washing my face, and brushing my teeth. I cannot think of the last time I went to bed with makeup on or without brushing my teeth. I know it’s a personal thing, but I can’t relax when I feel so dirty with the day’s grime. Even when we get home late from something I at least do these three things.
Next, I put on one of my movies. I have a small collection of movies that I love. These are girly movies mostly about love and they have very little in them to stir up my anxiety. I have seen them all a bunch of times so I can sometimes even lay in bed with my eyes closed and just listen to them and “watch” them in my head. In no particular order these movies are:
- Leap Year
- Sense & Sensibility / Persuasion Collector’s Set (Includes Miss Austen Regrets) (so much better than the movie version)
- You’ve Got Mail
- The Young Victoria
- Pride & Prejudice (I’ve got them both, but I like this one better even though it’s not as true to the book. Don’t hate me.)
- Persuasion (older)
- Persuasion (newer) Both wonderful
- Morning Glory
- Mansfield Park (Couldn’t watch the one with Billy Piper, though I love her in Dr. Who.)
- How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
- The Holiday
- Far from the Madding Crowd (my favorite, right now)
- Emma (again, so much better than the movie)
- Easy Virtue
- 13 Going on 30
While the movie is on I do some light stretching. I was a gymnast, then cheerleader, and also ran track so I just do some stretching that I learned in those sports. Any stretching will do really, and I’m sure you could find some online if you need help knowing what to do. Maybe I’ll do a post about my stretches some day.
While I stretch I do some deep breathing. This is probably the one thing that makes the most difference in my being able to relax, and even when I don’t feel like stretching I will still lie in bed and breath deeply for a while. I breathe slowly and deeply, and even use this exercise of breathing to focus my attention on the Lord. Yes, I do this with a movie on in the background. This order of events just flows most smoothly for me. As I breathe, I turn my attention to the Lord, Did you know that the Lord’s name in Hebrew has no vowels and can therefore be said without moving your mouth. We can literally breathe His name. Yh in, wh out.
I take the Lord in as I inhale and I release anything from the day that needs to be released as I exhale. It’s actually quite simple, not as “mystical” as it sounds, and sometimes doesn’t take very long at all. Just a few breaths.
Then I get in bed and watch some more of my movie if I’m not quite ready to close my eyes, or I go ahead and turn everything off and go to sleep. I usually watch a little bit more even when I feel like I could go on to sleep simply because I love these movies. I do best on 8-9 hours of sleep at night so I try to turn everything off by 10.
Along with my night time routine I have also found two other things that can help me relax as the day is winding down. First, lowering the lighting in the house helps my body start to transition into “night time” mode. Light is one of the biggest external factors that influence sleep, so in the evening we purposefully have only a couple of lamps on. I have some friends who began only using candles after 6pm so their bodies would begin the process of “shutting off” for sleep. We tried that a few times while living in FL, but it never stuck. .
I’ve also found that I really enjoy Sleepytime Tea. I drink the Extra Sleepytime with Valerian, though if I drink it too closely to bed, I wake up in the night needing to pee. Kinda defeats the purpose. This isn’t part of my night time routine, but something I do a little earlier in the evening.
So, that’s my night time routine and some tips I’ve found for helping me relax. Do you have a night time routine or any tips to share? Did anything I do sound like it might be something you want to try? Are any of those movies your faves too?
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