Evening Rituals, for a creativity inspiring sleep

 photo by:  Ornella Binni

photo by: Ornella Binni

It's always been more challenging for me to master evenings than mornings. I have a tendency to build up a lot of energy throughout the day, so I sometimes have trouble switching gears and winding down in the evening. 

That said, it's much more likely that I'll function at my creative peak after a night of deeply restful sleep. So one of my intentions right now is to make friends with these rituals and commit to them to the best of my ability. 

If you want to check out the video that accompanies this post, click here. 

1) Enjoying a Light & Early Dinner

Even though this can be challenging sometimes (ha, note the theme :P), I'm mindful of enjoying lighter foods and not eating past 7-7:30pm  This way my body can digest before I go to bed, and my organs can focus on repair (vs. digestion) while I'm sleeping; which allows me to feel more deeply rested the next morning. If I still feel a little hungry later on, I'll have a small snack before going to bed. Some of my favorite bed time snacks are: soaked cashews, goat yoghurt, banana or a little bit of nut butter. 

2) Enjoying an Evening Walk

I love taking walks after dinner. This is my GO-TO tool for helping me switch those gears and go into chill-out mode. It also helps me release any additional energy that might still be buzzing in my system. I love inhaling the sweet evening air and looking up at the stars. It's also a lovely opportunity to reconnect with a loved one or a friend if you're taking a walk with someone else. Or with yourself if you're going solo. Note: your evening walk doesn't have to be long to be effective. Even just 15 minutes of basking in the evening glow can work miracles. 

3) Having a Relaxing Cup of Herbal Tea

 photo by:  Ornella Binni

photo by: Ornella Binni

Herbal teas really help me tap into a deeper sense of relaxation. I buy a lot of my tea-making herbs in bulk, store them in glass jars, and then pick and choose to make my nightly concoctions. I always make sure to brew my  teas with spring water. Some of my favorite sleepy-time herbs are:

1) Chamomile
Chamomile tea increases the levels of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in your body, which leads to an increased sense of calm. It also soothes your digestive system. (1) 

2) Spearmint
Spearmint supports the digestive system, I love mixing it into my evening tea blends to give my tummy some extra love. 

3) Lemon Verbena
I love the scent of lemon verbena, it's so citrusy and fresh. It also soothes the digestive system and has an overall calming effect on the body. (2) 

4) Lemon Balm
Lemon balm lowers anxiety and has calming benefits that help your body wind down and go to sleep, especially when it's combined with other relaxing herbs like the ones mentioned above. (3) 

5) Linden Flowers
Linden flower tea is known for its potent stress & anxiety reducing properties. It gently affects your hormone levels, leading your body and mind to relax. It also has tummy settling properties. (4)
 

4) Shutting Off Screens 1 Hour Before Bed

 Research has shown that looking at a screen before bedtime prevents your brain from releasing melatonin, which is a key sleep hormone. This one can feel a little challenging at times, but when I switch off all my technology an hour or more before bed, I feel a huge difference in my ability to fall asleep and my quality of sleep throughout the night. As a result, I'll also feel more awake and more alert throughout the next day. 

For anyone interested in reading more about this topic, here are a couple of informative links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/reading-before-bed_n_6372828.html
(admittedly, the title of this one is a little extreme, but it's a great article nonetheless =)) 

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-its-bad-to-use-your-phone-before-bed-2015-7

5) Reading an Inspiring Book

I often find that my mind still wants to engage with something before bed, since I'm working on not looking at screens, I opt for reading a book instead. I usually pick something that is inspiring and will fill my mind with good thoughts, so I can fall asleep in that headspace. I just finished reading The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani, which was truly extraordinary. I can already sense how this book will be a real game-changer for me this year. I'll very likely talk about it in future blog posts/videos =) 

 photo by:  Annie Spratt

photo by: Annie Spratt

I'm still working on tweaking these practices and am definitely open to learning about new ones that will help me calm down & chill out in the evening. So please share your evening rituals in the comments below =)

Wishing you all nights filled with creativity inspiring sleep.

Much love,

Leah 

--
words: Leah Salinas

Sources
(1) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/chamomile-tea-benefits-uses.html
(2) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/lemon-verbena.html
(3) http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm
(4) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/linden.html
(5) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/reading-before-bed_n_6372828.html