Want to skip the sleep meds to get your best rest? Much of getting a good night’s rest has to do with repetition, which is why adding ritual around your bedtime is a perfect way to train your body into falling and staying asleep peacefully.
I’ve struggled with insomnia on and off throughout my life and have personally used all of these methods, most of them altogether. As a bonus, several of them have some science backing them up! I protect my bedtime ritual fiercely which has enabled me to stay off sleep medications and sleep well throughout the night. Of course, I still have the occasional sleepless night, but now they’re far and few between.
Sleep deprivation can be serious or indicate a bigger problem, so if your lack of sleep continues, take care of yourself and be sure to talk to a health professional. If you want to try a more natural route first, here are seven rituals for getting better sleep.
Use the same scent every night
Scents create a potent cue for our bodies. Try rubbing the same essential oil (with a carrier oil) on your chest and neck or diffuse your favorite scent every night. There are a variety of essential oils that are ideal for priming you for sleep, and the act of using the same scent every night as a ritual will help cue your brain and body that it’s time for sleep. Here are a few scents that will help calm your mind and prep your body for rest:
Crystals on your nightstand or under your pillow
If you’re sensitive to the energy of crystals, placing one or two on your nightstand or under your pillow makes for a nice visual, as well as a tactile reminder to get in the sleep zone. Here are some of the most soothing gemstones that can help your body calm down and sleep better at night.
Take this ritual a step further and try holding your sleepy time crystals in your hands and meditating before bed.
Salt lamps or other soft orange light
Around 9:30 pm all of my screens and lights start to go off in my house and my salt lamps and soft orange lights go on, annoying as it may be to my husband. You’ve probably already heard the bad news, but the light from your cell phone, tablet, and computer are blue lights. Blue lights tell your brain that it’s time to wake up, which is one reason why it’s important to set good boundaries with your screen time.
Soft orange lights, like salt lamps, will signal to your brain that it’s time to start getting ready for bed. You’ll also enjoy the bonus negative ion benefits from using a salt lamp. Having a ritual in place of scrolling on your phone while in bed can help you detach from your beloved sleep time. Try making a special place where you charge and power down your phone every night that’s out of reach.
P.S. Salt lamp night lights are a thing, and they’re amazing! Learn more about the benefits of salt lamps in this previous post.
Herbal tea before bed
Indulging in a cup of sleep-inducing herbal tea is a great way to get your sense of taste in the ritual action. The more senses you can recruit for your bedtime rituals the better! Aside from the taste sensation, there are a variety of herbs that are ideal for calming your mind and body for sleep. You can use them on their own or get creative and make your own blend. Here’s a list of sleepy-time herbs to try in tea form before bed.
- Valerian root
- Lemon Balm
Don’t like drinking tea? Try finding a tincture using any combination of the herbs above for a quick sleep-inducing tonic.
Rest for your pineal gland
Your pineal gland controls your circadian rhythm which helps your body know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake. Your pineal gland loves a healthy dose of total darkness at night. Once you’re ready to catch some zzz’s, turn off any remaining soft lights or salt lamps and try to minimizing light pollution in your room. Try shutting out all light from the outdoors, and any inside lights to give you some pre-sleep time in a light-free space. Cohabitating with someone who reads at night or won’t abide by your new nightly ritual? Try a sleep mask.
Your meditation practice goes beyond mindfulness and also directly correlates to the health of your pineal gland. Yep! The same teeny gland that controls your circadian rhythm. That means your morning or afternoon meditation practice goes beyond peace of mind throughout the day and can actually help you get better sleep at night too! You can also work a meditation practice at bedtime if it suits you, just know that meditating anytime throughout your day will benefit your sleep habits.
Make your sleep space a sanctuary
How do you feel when you walk into a cluttered space? Probably not like you want to go to sleep! Your body and mind will benefit from making your bedroom a clean and calm respite. This is especially true for the energetically sensitive and empaths. All that clutter carries energy, so if you’re sensitive to it, it will certainly disrupt your sleep.
This is my new favorite sleep ritual! After moving recently, I decided to make our bedroom as minimal and soothing as possible (turns out this is a lot less costly too!). I protect the cleanliness of our bedroom fiercely and I can’t believe the difference it has made. If you didn’t just move and want a quick fix for your sleep space, try cleaning your room and then cleansing the energy of your space with herbal smoke.
Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.