July 24th is International Self Care Day. The Soberman's Estate team collaborated, including our Registered Nurses and Meditation Coach, to create a nighttime routine for clients, alumni, and anyone looking for a good night's sleep.
A nighttime routine can help with entering a positive and relaxed state of mind before bed, which can improve sleep quality, mindset and well being for the following day, and lead to numerous health benefits.
1. Electronics Off One Hour Before Bed
Studies show that using electronics, such as a smart phone, tv, computer, or tablet suppresses melatonin production, a natural hormone our body releases to help us fall asleep. These back-lit devices emit blue light, which can cause feelings of alertness, inhibit one's ability to fall asleep, and decrease time in slow-wave and REM sleep, two vital stages of the sleep cycle. Avoiding screens before bed can facilitate the body's natural sleep cycle and allow for maximum quality rest.
2. Warm Shower or Bath
A warm shower or bath before bed can relax the muscles, lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, and help one fall asleep faster. After experiencing hot water, the body cools down; this temperature drop mirrors a natural part of the sleep process and serves as a signal to our bodies to wind down for sleep.
3. Relaxing Music or Binaural Sounds
Binaural Sounds are beats heard at different frequencies that can induce different brainwave patterns. Lower frequency sounds (4-8 Hz) may bring one into a state of relaxation, meditation, or deep sleep. Sounds of 8-14 Hz can encourage positive thinking, relaxation, focused attention; a "flow state." Higher frequency sounds (14-30 Hz) can stimulate focused analytical thinking and problem solving.
Relaxing music you enjoy can also be an effective tool to wind down. It can ease muscle tension, lower blood pressure, slow breathing, reduce anxiety, limit cortisol production, and activate serotonin and oxytocin production.
4. Diffused Essential Oils
Aromatherapy has several benefits in addition to promoting healthy sleep patterns. It can relieve pain, cramping, anxiety, skin conditions, respiratory issues, and it can boost your mood.
Lavender specifically is used for its sedative properties to calm physical and emotional sleep blocks, such has anxiety, headaches, and insomnia. Chamomile is a favored digestive relaxant, and can help soothe stomach issues.
5. Herbal Sleeping Tea
Drinking herbal tea is a holistic strategy to wind down, transition into a relaxed state, and improve sleep quality. The types of tea most frequently used as a sleep aid include valerian root, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, passion flower, and magnolia bark.
6. Breath-work, Meditation, Journal
Breath-work is an additional strategy to slow the heart rate and wind the body down for sleep. This can help decrease anxiety and stress, and transition an individual into a state of relaxation.
The practice of meditation may seem foreign or difficult, but like many activities, it's a practice. Meditation can serve as an opportunity to process the experiences we've had which we haven't had time to process, and/or to practice becoming an observer of our own thoughts, rather than identifying with the thoughts completely, and for those advanced in the practice, a moment of stillness.
Journaling can be a powerful method to release any thoughts or emotions that have been ruminating during the day. Journaling can also provide an outlet for the subconscious mind to become more conscious. The act of acknowledging items in our thought streams can often reduce their intensity. Journaling before bed can help brains rest fully, and reduce sleep fragmentation.
7. Weighted Blanket
The weight in these blankets simulate a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation. This is used to relax the nervous system and has been shown to increase serotonin, decrease cortisol, and increase melatonin levels. A weighted blanket may aid in decreasing stress, improving mood, the ability to fall asleep, and sleep quality.
8. Eye Pillow
Light pressure on the eyes triggers the oculocardiac reflex and stimulates the vagus nerve, which can lower the heart rate and regulate mood. When eye-pillows are created with essential oils, all of the aromatherapy benefits are added to this technique.
Clients of Soberman's Estate receive a custom eye-pillow to utilize during and after their treatment.