Do you find yourself in need of a little more restorative self-care during the coldest season of the year? Safeguard your winter wellness routine with these 5 tips promoting better sleep!
From Winter Blues to Your Late-Night Snooze
Welcome to the days where…
- It’s dark at 4 pm.
- It’s grey for weeks.
- And you’ve all but forgotten what the sun looks, or even FEELS, like.
You know what I’m talking about: Welcome to Winter!
Taking care of yourself during the cold months requires a set of unique considerations.
Your daily dose of vitamin D becomes depleted as the appearance of the sun becomes scarce. And your mental health can take a hit as you feel less “refreshed,” or more fatigued.
Which is why having a bedtime routine is more crucial than any other time of year.
Our guest editor Susan Gillis, a naturopathic doctor based in Toronto, has offered up some tips and tricks to help improve your sleep hygiene (check out our "Sleep Hygiene" blog post)!
But for those of us looking for a good old “HERE’S YOUR PLAN!” to follow, we’ve got some nightly wellness suggestions to help strengthen your winter sleeping patterns.
5 Bedtime Rituals for a Winter Wellness Routine
Here we focus on promoting a little R&R by teaching you how to tell your mind it’s time to turn off for the day!
1. Turn Out the Lights
Yes- this includes putting away your screens and detaching from the blue light impact many of us have come to learn about. Most of us have probably read up on the studies of blue light and its effect to trick the mind into believing it’s still daytime. Studies suggest it takes a couple of hours from your last exposure to blue light for your mind to begin producing the required melatonin that makes you sleepy.
But in conjunction with that, turning out ALL the lights in your home also has its benefits. By dimming the lights in your bedroom, or turning them off completely, you are effectively allowing the course of your circadian rhythm to come to its completion. A dark room tells your mind, “The day is over, and we are allowed to unwind now.”
One great benefit of meditation is allowing your thoughts to come to you more slowly.
That peaceful calming of a racing mind allows you to focus and find some clarity from within- which makes it a wonderful addition to any morning routine as well!
But as part of your nightly ritual, it also gives your mind permission to stop thinking ahead- to tomorrow or the coming weeks- and instead encourages you to be present in the here and now. A perfect mantra before sleep!
Even five minutes can go a long way while you build this new habit. If meditation is less familiar to you, try the Headspace or Calm apps.
“Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight.” – Ajahn Brahm
3. Diffuse Some Essential Oils
Using essential oils as part of your nightly wellness ritual has proven effective benefits through aromatherapy practices. Your brain conditions itself to associate a specific fragrance with sleep when you continue to utilize the same one before bed.
So go ahead and…
- Spritz your favourite scent onto your pillow
- Rub a (diluted) essential oil on your forehead, or
- Add a few drops to your diffuser.
As you establish your winter wellness rituals, it’ll be easier to benefit from the routine of them! We love lavender, valerian & chamomile as examples. (Please note that some oils have contraindications for your pets!)
4. Listen to a Sleep Playlist
There is research supporting the fact that certain sounds actually promote calm and relaxation. Spotify and other streaming services offer a great selection of soothing musical lullabies for you to browse from.
But we suggest avoiding music with lyrics/vocals, and a high bpm (beats per minute).
Remember: we’re not here for a dance party, we’re here to wind down! If you catch yourself singing along to a peaceful Ed Sheeran song… it might not be the best music before bed. As soft and dreamy as his musical masterpieces are!
5. Go to Bed Earlier
And finally… Shorter days with less sunlight often lead to vitamin D deficiencies. Which lead to a decrease in energy levels. And as much as you’d like to, you just can’t think your way out of a vitamin D deficiency! The only way to deal with this very real side effect is to deal with its impact on your body.
Less energy is something you need to account for, which is why you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and maybe even a little extra! During the winter months, it’s advisable to give yourself additional comfort and wellness. Practice incorporating going to bed earlier than you’re used to in your self-care routine, and you just might find yourself waking up with a bit more vitality for the day ahead! This may include planning fewer things in your week or within your agenda for the day - this may take a couple of years to figure out - but we’re with you!
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.” — E. Joseph Cossman
A Step-By-Step vs. A Pick & Choose Winter Wellness Routine
Each of these rituals can be used individually or combined as part of your custom winter wellness routine.
But whether you follow our suggestions step by step, or pick and choose which work best for you, the goal is to promote a state of calm and relaxation before bed to give you better quality sleep.
Incorporating Winter Wellness into Your #Pokoliving
Head on over to the ‘gram and tag us@pokolokoltd as you snap a photo of your #winterwellness routines! We’re always looking for some new inspo to share from our #pokoliving community! <3