Could You Use More Sleep?
You work hard. On top of the ordinary tasks of work and home life, the unexpected always comes up. Being productive; problem solving; taking care of yourself, your people, your pets – all of this converges to make rest difficult to come by, yet all the more necessary.
Practicing good sleep hygiene (aka healthy sleep habits) can assist in maximizing the times we do have to rest. Taking time in the evening to slow down and move through a planned, rhythmic routine is a key element of good sleep hygiene.
One: Set A Time
Most of us have a particular time in the mornings that we need to be up in order to start the day, get the kids to school, get to work, etc.. That time is more or less set and will aid us in identifying when we need to go to bed. So first consider your wake up time and then count back 8 hours to determine when you should go to bed. Then add one more hour for your evening routine.
Your evening routine might not take a full hour, but it’s nice to take your time and move through it with intentionality without rushing.
Two: Set the Scene
Turn down the lights and turnoff the screens. Research has revealed that lowering light is a key to getting your body ready for sleep. Our bodies get the message that it’s time for rest when the lights are low.
In addition to dim lights, we should also consider other sensory inputs like sound and smell. When you get a relaxation massage, the massage therapist will usually create a restful atmosphere for you. As we set the scene for our personal evening routines, we can try to recreate that massage atmosphere in your home. This might include powering off your devices and turning off overhead lights. Consider having just a lamp or two on and even light a candle. Play relaxing music that you enjoy. Use these sensory signals to help your body and mind relax.
Three: Do Some Relaxing Movements
At the end of the day, I’m looking to relieve the tension that has built up over the course of the day. Whether it’s from sitting all day while working on my computer or one of those rare days when I’m physically active all day, both result in tired and tight-feeling muscles.
For me, stretching isn’t always enough or even possible if I’m particularly tight. Sometimes I need something deeper and more targeted before I stretch. I’ll often begin with three simple MOBO Releases to soften up those tight muscles and then I’m ready to do some stretching.
My three favorites for evening relaxation are the Head and Neck Release, Upper Trap Release, and Front Hip Release. If I’ve been on my feet all day, I’ll add in the Foot Release. Doing these three or four releases will only take about five to ten minutes, but will reap amazing benefits such as:
- Improved fluid movement in the soft tissue
- Relaxation of the Central Nervous System to prepare for sleep
- Establishing a rhythm of healthy self care
- Unwinding the areas of tension from your day
These MOBO releases are generally useful for most people, but you may find that you have more specific issues such as restless leg syndrome, night cramping, or pain that wakes you up during the night.* Practicing releases on the areas that are giving you issues can make a huge difference in quality of sleep and overall tissue health.
As you can see, what’s needed for relaxation is different for each person depending on what we spent our day doing. Take a look at all 9 Essentials to see which one(s) might fit your needs.
*Medical Warning: If you have pain that wakes you up at night that is not improved by position or light soft tissue treatment this could be a sign of a larger medical condition and should be evaluated by a medical practitioner.
Four: Get Comfy
The final step in this healthy evening routine is to do what you do to actually get ready to get into bed. Taking a warm shower can continue the relaxation you’ve been working on. Practicing some self-care such as brushing your teeth, washing and moisturizing your face, and putting on something soft and comfortable will surely prepare you for sleep.
Finally, set your alarm and snuggle into bed. Some people like to read before they fall asleep and this can be a great idea, as long as what you are reading A) is not so stimulating that you won’t be able to fall asleep and B) is not on a screen. This is where physical books or magazines can really come in handy. However, if you’re like me, you might prefer to listen to a book as you doze off. Audio books are available for purchase or check-out free from the library and most of the apps you play them on have a timer feature. I usually only last for about ten minutes of listening before I drift off after such a relaxing evening routine.
Do you practice good sleep hygiene? How has MOBO added to your evening routine?