Rest Easy And Sleep Well
“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” ― John Steinbeck, Writer
Dreaming life - a subconscious or semi-conscious state of being that allows the body to rest, rejuvenate and assimilate the experiences of the day. Sleep is such an integral part of wellbeing, which is why Bhumi has a strong focus on organic cotton sheets, quilt covers and pillow cases that you can soften into each night.
The benefits of sleep are enormous, and conversely, so are the complications of poor sleep, affecting our mental, physiological and emotional health.
You may find sleep comes too easily, and is hard to arise from in the mornings - or perhaps not at all, in which case the anxiety around falling asleep can compound the insomnia and subsequent exhaustion. Countless factors influence the quality and quantity of our rest. As we transition into the gradual warming of Spring, paying attention to how we ease towards slumber each night can help bring more vitality and focus to each day that follows.
We all intuitively understand the qualities of sleep - there is heaviness, stillness, and a quiet release. To encourage this surrender, we can slow down, find grounding, and reconnect to breath and to self.
Here Are 4 Simple Things To Incorporate Into Your Evening Rhythm:
1. The Setting
The bedroom is a sanctuary for rest, and there are many ways to cultivate mindfulness about how you engage in this space. If you are a visual person, infusing your bedroom with soothing, neutral colours (like Sky Blue or Pewter) can help create a tranquil mood. If smells are evocative, perhaps keep naturally scented oil infusers or candles handy. Keep the lighting as dim and warm as possible to engage with our natural circadian rhythm. You may like to experiment with slightly cooler or warmer temperatures, or wearing a lighter cotton fabrics and notice how this affects your sleep.
2. Slow Down
- Gentle exercise
- Eat early, lightly, slowly
- Experience dusk
Avoid caffeine, alcohol or other stimulants. For an easy and rejuvenating hot drink, try a steaming cup of Golden Milk instead - a beautiful recipe from Cashew Kitchen here.
This is also a good opportunity to limit or avoid screen-time; perhaps pick up your favourite book, make conversation with a loved one, or simply watch and listen as dusk unfold.
3. Find Grounding
- A bath or shower
- Treat your feet and hands
- Herbal tea
- Mindful breathing
Warm water can soothe your joints, relax the body and settle nerves. To help de-stress, add magnesium-rich, detoxing Epsom salts, or essential oils like citrus, lavender, or sandalwood to your bath.
A gentle, warming massage with organic coconut, olive or sesame oil (non-toasted) helps recirculate the blood and rejuvenate the skin. This also stimulates awareness of our hands and feet - the action-takers often forgotten as we work through the day. Take the time to notice everything, from the texture of your skin to the giving and receiving sensations of pressure.
As you massage, it is a great time to reconnect to your breath, or sigh out any accumulated tightness in your chest or body.
Finally, sipping on a calming herbal infusion like camomile, lavender or peppermint alleviates tension, and is a chance to cultivate mindfulness in a simple moment. Perhaps watch the steam curl up from your mug, or investigate the experience of drinking in this hot liquid, from the wafting aroma to the flow of heat past your tongue, through the throat, into the belly. What might you observe in the flavours, in your thoughts and sensations? There is something to savour in being fully present.
- Write it out
- Set an intention (and wake up mindfully)
Hugs may not be your thing, but if you like them, cuddle away! A cushion, an animal, your beloveds - the somatic pressure of hugging helps to release feel-good hormones, which contribute towards wellness and readiness to rest.
If there are still niggling thoughts on your mind, why not write it out? Make use of scrap paper, or for those who like being organised, start a small journal to jot down what is on your mind each night. You may wish to create a to-do list for the next day, or simply make shapes on the page. Letting these thoughts and concerns out on paper makes space in the mind, and keeps them safely in physical form for a better time. You may wish to set an intention for the next morning - and wake up mindfully to it.
Finally, one more deep inhale, filling the belly, back, side ribs, and chest, and a full loud exhale to let go of the whole breath. As you climb, roll or slip under the cocoon of your covers, try paying close attention; feel the texture of the sheets, the temperature of your body, the weight of the covers, the sensation of sinking into your pillow. This is your sanctuary, your time to rest.
Our bodies are influenced by a complex, ever changing dynamic, and sleep is the time for this dynamic to shift towards equilibrium.
You may like to try one of the above each night, or perhaps reserve an evening each week to experience all of them together. Especially when there’s always something to ’get done’, it is tempting to forgo what seems like superfluous rituals…yet it is through these small acts that we can come back to the present moment, and honour this body we call home.
About the Author: Lucy Lawes is an advocate for mindful living.