Whether you’re on the quest for glowing skin, youthful vigour, zen-like patience or compassion—whatever it may be—there’s one vital lifestyle factor that can significantly help you meet your goals, and you’re probably forgetting all about it: sleep. Fortunately, the topic is becoming gradually more talked about—thanks in large part to . But still, this game changing aspect of our lives remains far too often disregarded, and it really makes all the difference.
Why don’t we pay sleep the attention it deserves?
While other wellness practices may be made up to appear desirable in the minds of consumers, sleep is not so easily “dressed up.” This is probably because the act of laying ourselves to rest is, in reality, much more of an inaction. In western culture especially, this translates to bor-ing. This mindset comes from our conditioning. Not to get all Brave New World on you, but our society has certainly led us to associate productivity with success, and success with our degree of worthiness.
The more we achieve, in other words, the more secure we feel about ourselves and our value. This philosophy has become embedded in our internal thoughts, and is confirmed repeatedly by external factors—like when your boss lauds you for staying late at work, or when your friend expresses their admiration for your “merciless dedication to your work.”
So in a society such as this, how can we get excited about doing nothing? It depends on the way you think, of course. If you’re a verifiable “work horse,” open your eyes to this unavoidable truth: we contribute results of the highest quality when we are in a well-rested state. For only the refreshed and recharged self can think so clearly. So, if you’re a driven, goal-oriented individual, changing your level of enthusiasm when it comes to sleep can be done by consciously reminding yourself of its necessity for top notch work output.
There’s also another way to amp up your love of sleep. This method builds up a narrative around sleep; it works especially well if, like me, you’re spiritually-inclined. So, here it is: view sleep as one beautiful, nourishing ritual. A ritual that is multi-layered, with each layer crafted uniquely every evening at dusk in order to best meet your needs.
These “layers” are your special ingredients that will come together to ensure you drift off to sleep, where you’ll remain peacefully until your body’s refreshed and ready to begin a new day.
Building Your Sleep Sanctuary
The first thing to do is tell yourself that your bedroom is an oasis. It may sound silly, but it really all begins in the mind. In thinking of your room as a special part of your home, reserved for luxuriating in sleep and pre-bed rituals, you’ll start to treat it in this way. Over time, as you build this sleep sanctuary, you’ll find just entering the space brings you into a state of calm.
Lighting: opt out of artificial, sleep-disrupting blue light sources, and gravitate towards good old fashion, romantic candles. These don’t have to be fancy or expensive. You can purchase simple white wax candles at a dollar store, and they’ll glow just as beautifully. Huddle them together in a designated area, or spread them around, whatever suits you best!
Music: sometimes simple nature soundtracks are all you need to transport yourself into a state of bliss, other times you might prefer calming zen meditation music, and if you’re feeling like something a bit more sensual try out soft jazz. It depends on if you’re looking to get into a state of meditation, or intimacy.
Essential Oil Diffusing: craft your own naturally scented ambiance using a blend of oils, or simply diffuse a well-loved favourite. Top picks? For sweetness: ylang-ylang, or the ever-popular lavender; for woodiness: amber or cedar wood; for a citrus-y vibe: bergamot. Play around with your combinations, make it a fun experiment in alchemy.
Bath Time: once you’ve set the mood, if you have a tub, fill it up with bubbles, rose petals, and/or your favourite Lush products, like the Twilight bath bomb, made to prepare your body for rest.
Massage with Oils: before drying off, show your skin some love with a massage. This act can promote a sense of intimacy with ourselves, while improving our circulation and deeply moisturizing our skin in a way that lotions could only dream of. My favourite is jojoba oil because I find it really penetrates the skin well. If you’re curious about which is best for your skin type, check out Whole Foods’ chart here.
Designated, Feel-Good Pyjamas: once your oils have sunk in, slip into your sleepwear. Have particular clothing for this time of day, pieces that make you feel beautiful and sexy. The power of the mind, remember, is great. So put on something that jives with this magical oasis that your bedroom has been transformed into.
Sip Tea: indulge in some loose-leaf tea, when it isn’t bagged you can delight in the beauty of the tea leaves, making it a treat for the eyes too. If you need any additional help unwinding, specific herbs are said to promote the catching of Zzzs, like skullcap, lemon balm, valerian root and catnip. Try adding these herbs to your teas, or even craft your own brews entirely from scratch. Just like with your oil blends, you can view this as an artform: dig your hands in, get messy, play!
So there it is, friends, my methods of “dressing up” sleep. When I think of these, I actually get excited for nighttime! I hope you do now, too. And if I haven’t managed to change your mindset, maybe these eloquent words from Macbeth will do the trick; after all, if Shakespeare can’t win you over, no one will:
“Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.chief nourisher in life’s feast.”
Mackenzie Belcastro; http://journeytoself2017.wordpress.com.
Writer at Journey To Self, where she explores the art of being authentically oneself and the path to getting there.