Your evening routine is just as important as your morning ritual and is critical in helping keep you balanced and healthy. It’s essential to understand that it’s not just what you do at night that affects your sleep. How you go about your day and shift into the evening also plays a big role in how well you sleep—optimize your evening time to set yourself up for the best and most relaxing nighttime routine. Too much stress is one of the most common causes of sleep disorders so learning to relax is key—And we asked our resident doctor, Mauro Zappaterra, MD, PhD, to weigh in on the subject and provide some sleep-friendly suggestions on ways to sleep better:
Develop a routine—A night time routine is essential to unwind from the day, cultivate relaxation and set up for a good night’s sleep i.e. don’t do anything that will raise energy levels or engage the body’s fight or flight response soon before getting ready for bed, like drinking caffeine or working out. “Working out involves the activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is the fight or flight response. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates your body and is not a beneficial state to be in when trying to fall asleep. Therefore exercise should not be performed before going to bed as there is an imbalance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.” Avoiding stimulants is essential for restoring normal sleep chemistry. Focus on keeping your sleep routine consistent and go to sleep around the same time every night. We recommend hitting the sheets no later than 11 p.m. because the later you go to sleep, the lighter your REM sleep will be—meaning you’ll miss out on the deeply, restorative sleep your body requires.
Create your sleep sanctuary—Turn your bedroom into a zen-worthy, sleep zone. Gather your sleep-inducing accessories—like an eye mask, diffuser, or cozy blanket—before you can say "hygge". This also includes keeping your bed as a place for rest and sex only.
Start a bedtime ritual—If you're in sleep mode, your computer and phone should be too—no excuses. About an hour before bedtime, switch off all electronic devices and make sure your wifi is turned off. They are too stimulating to the brain and inhibit the release of sleep neurotransmitters. Dim your lights and relax. “Darkness is important because it triggers the natural release of melatonin from the pineal gland, and melatonin triggers the natural response to sleep.” It’s also important to get some natural light throughout the day—this allows your body to stay in sync with it’s circadian rhythms. Begin to wind down by taking a warm bath or listen to calming music or soothing sounds. Remove any distractions (mental and physical) that will prevent you from sleeping.
Use nutritional support—Use natural vitamins, minerals, and herbs to ease the mind and aid in relaxation, not sleeping pills or alcohol. “Alcohol is not recommended as a sleeping agent. Alcohol is a depressant and, initially, will actually induce sleep— however, when the alcohol burns from your system, the body has an opposite reaction and oftentimes there is a cortisol or stress response, leaving one to sleep restlessly—waking up and having a difficult time falling back asleep.“ Instead of sleeping pills or alcohol, take nutrients that have a calming effect on the central nervous system (CNS). Magnesium can be helpful as can calcium. The amino acids, L theanine, griffonia seed (5 HTP), taurine, and herbs like tart cherry, passion flower, chamomile, magnolia and skull cap can also help. Our sleep-promoting Torii Unwind formula contains griffonia seed, chamomile, and skullcap, which stimulates the deeply restorative regenerative process essential for the brain and body.
There is nothing quite like going from being worn out and exhausted to bouncing back to life when you find a new sleep groove. Here’s to a (or, many) good night’s sleep ahead.