Many people with ME/CFS have difficulty sleeping at night, with a large amount suffering from full on insomnia. But you don’t have to have ME or any other chronic illness to find drifting off at night a challenge. Stress at work, too much screen time, late meals and even interior decoration can all be know to cause problems with sleep. It is really important to address issues with your sleep as soon as possible and take it seriously. Prolonged poor sleep can weaken your immune system and worsen things like stress, creating a downward spiral. Furthermore, if you’re fighting any kind of illness, good quality restorative sleep is a powerful tool in your healing arsenal, so it’s time to start sharpening its blade!
If you have signed up for my Rumba Detox 2017 Life Detox Program then you will have received February’s Sleep Detox guide in your inbox. It is full of tips for improving the quality of your sleep, and I will share those tips in another post soon. But for now, I just wanted to share with you what my bedtime routine looks like:
During times when I know I need to pay extra attention to making sure I get high quality restorative sleep, I start my routine soon after I’ve finished with my supper. I go through the following steps:
- Hot bath, with lavender and plenty of magnesium flakes or epsom salts. Lavender is known for its powerful aromatherapy effects causing deep relaxation. I love the Weleda Relaxing Lavender Bath Milk, or just sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil. The magnesium found in Epsom Salts or high strength magnesium flakes is a muscle relaxant and helps to relieve aches and pains caused by exertion. I make sure I turn off the main lights and put some candles on to really up the relaxation potential! Bonus points for relaxing scented candles. Some times I play relaxing music or listen to a guided meditation. I’ll follow my bath with some self-massage, especially if I have sore feet or achy limbs from the day’s activities or any symptom flare-ups.
- Herbal tea. There are plenty of herbal teas on the market that are designed for bed time, using a cocktail of natural botanical herbs that are known to promote relaxation and sleepiness. Some key ingredients to look out for are Chamomile, Velarian Root and Hops. I love the Night Time blend by Pukka. Stick to a small cup so you don’t end up waking up in the night needing the toilet!
- Read a book. I like to enjoy my cup of tea in bed with a book, something that is quite imaginative with a dream-like narrative is ideal. Avoid thrillers or anything too educational or motivational. This is an excellent way to pass the time that could otherwise be spent in front of the TV or looking at your phone/computer. Staring at the blue-light of electrical appliances is known to have a stimulative effect on our sleep hormones and can put your body on edge which will make getting off to sleep more of a struggle and can compromise the quality of your sleep. Once my tea is finished I take a quick break to brush my teeth then get back into bed with my book.
- Lights out. When I’m sleepy enough from reading, or it gets to silly o’clock (whichever comes first), I turn out the light and put my Holistic Silk eye-mask on. Hopefully this is enough to send me blissfully packing to the land of Nod.
- Turn off wifi and gadgets. I put my phone on airplane mode, and plug it in to charge in the hallway outside of my room. This keeps the disruptive electromagnetic fields away from my sleeping head, but is also a great trick for getting you out of bed in the morning as you have to get up to turn off your morning alarm. I also turn off my wifi at the modem and any other gadgets that might be on standby. However, if I’m really struggling to sleep, I break this rule to play a guided meditation on my phone, usually something streamed from YouTube.
- In case of late-night anxiety or overwhelm, I keep Rescue Remedy by my bed. A few drops on the tongue will ease feelings of panic or desperation.
So, that’s my bedtime routine! I hope this insight into how I prepare for a good night’s rest is helpful for improving your own routine so that you can get the restorative sleep that your body needs.
Please share below any of your own tips, questions or feedback.