Delicious sleep rituals for heavenly nights

When you’ve had a lovely night’s sleep you feel lively and positive. Your skin looks good, your hair is shiny and you feel fit and strong, ready for anything. Have a bad night’s sleep or – horror of horrors – a run of them, and it doesn’t take long to feel the fatigue. Everything takes more effort, your skin feels dry and crispy, your hair’s a nest. Covid hasn’t helped banish sleeplessness, with all the extra stresses and strains it has put on our lives.

Luckily there’s help at hand in the shape of gorgeous sleep rituals to tap into. In fact the word ‘ritual’ is really important here. Setting up a series of regular actions to do every night before bed, your very own sleep ritual, gives you what you need to prepare your body and mind for drifting off.  

Read on to discover why sleep matters, what happens when we don’t get enough of it, and how to settle yourself for endless wonderful nights of deep, satisfying, healing sleep. 

Why sleep is so important for a good life

Everything living on earth sleeps in one way or another, including microbes, which follow a sort of primitive circadian cycle of their own. Sleep is an essential function designed to recharge the mind and body. Good sleep helps maintain health and keep illnesses at bay. When you don’t get enough of it your brain lets you down. Your focus and concentration suffer, your thinking goes all woolly, your body slows down. It’s a lot harder to process memories, never mind make much sense of what’s going on around you.

What happens when you don’t sleep for days?

It’s a record. Back in late 1963 two students in the USA decided to see what happened when a person was deprived of sleep. The one who lost the toss, Randy Gardner, went without sleep for 264 hours, just under 11 days in a row. When the experiment ended he slept for 14 hours straight then went back to school as normal, with no apparent ill effects.

Gardner was unusual. Most of us can’t cope beyond three days of sleeplessness, enough to leave us experiencing hallucinations. Leave it any longer and we begin to suffer from cognitive impairment, bad temper, altered perception, problems seeing and hearing, bad hand-eye co-ordination, tense muscles, tremors, delusions, paranoia, psychosis, more risk of accidents and bad judgement. While it’s very rare you can actually die from lack of sleep. Working nights long term, even when you get enough sleep during the day, is bad for your health.

Having difficulty falling asleep isn’t unusual. If that’s you, try supplementing your normal sleep routine with calming rituals. If you don’t have a ‘normal sleep routine’, keep reading. A ritual is much the same as a routine. Whatever you call it, having one is much better for quality sleep than random bedtimes.

10 cool sleep rituals to make dropping off a dream

1.           Meditation helps you sleep. It’s a fantastic way to wind right down, clearly signalling to your body and mind it’s time for bed. It isn’t hard to learn, with a huge choice of ‘how to’ books, blog posts, podcasts, videos, apps and more. It’s amazing how beautiful it feels to empty all thoughts from your mind to drift in the present

2.           Sleep apps are great for forming new rituals. Try a few and see if any of them inspire you. Just bear in mind using a screen at bedtime will do more to keep you awake than send you to sleep 

3.           Mindfulness is another powerful free tool. Living in the moment involves accepting everything the way it is right now, without analysis or judgement. It’s incredibly relaxing to be aware of your preoccupations but not bothered by them

4.           Dim the lights and massage your limbs with essential oils, particularly lovely while playing soothing music  

5.           Read yourself to sleep. Because you focus on reading and only reading, it’s surprisingly relaxing. Just try not to fall asleep with your book on your face!  

6.           Progressive muscle relaxation is a great way to relieve tension in your muscles, which relieves tension in the mind. It also distracts you from worry by focusing on your body. Rather like counting sheep, you’ll probably drop off before you finish. Breathing slowly and deeply until you feel your body relaxing, take a big breath. Hold your breath and tense your feet and toes for three seconds, then let go at the same time as breathing out. Do the same thing as you work your way up through your body: lower legs, upper legs, abdomen and  lower back, upper back and chest, arms, hands, shoulders and neck

7.           Some say a warm drink of milk and nutmeg does a wonderful job of easing them away into sleep. No wonder when milk contains an amino acid that induces sleep  

8.           Breathe deep. It sounds simple, and it is. Focusing on your breathing takes your mind off everything else. You feel calm, your muscles relax, your heart rate slows. Breathe in slowly through your nose for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, then let it out for five seconds. Breathe so your stomach rises, something called abdominal breathing

9.           Are you into yoga? A gentle routine will calm the body and mind ready for sleep

10.         Don’t make it too hot... a warm bath is a great way to chill down at bedtime. Make it a treat and the habit will stick fast – bubble bath, oils, soft music, candles, you get the picture

Delightful sleep rituals from Holistic Silk

Every great sleep ritual deserves some real silk luxury. Add to the fantasy with stunning pure Mulberry silk kaftan, pure Mulberry silk anti-ageing pillowcases, hair turbans, lavender eye pillows and more. 






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