IIN Staff Picks: Wind-Down Routines for Better Sleep
Rebecca Robin, IIN Content Editor
Sleep is the fuel that our bodies run on.
A good night’s sleep allows your brain the time to “self-clean” and clear all the toxins that build up throughout the day – a true hitting of the reset button for your mind, body, and spirit. Sleep is fundamental for proper cognitive function, memory, immunity, digestive health, and much more. Many essential processes also occur during this resting period, including muscle growth, tissue repair, and hormone synthesis.
So how can you optimize your sleep quality and transform your health?
The National Sleep Foundation suggests an average of 7–9 hours of uninterrupted sleep for adults per night. It’s helpful to get to bed at a consistent hour each night and integrate a soothing regimen to let your body know it’s bedtime. This consistency will help regulate your circadian rhythm and have you dozing off and getting better sleep in no time!
We’ve asked our coworkers this month to share their own routines that have helped them get better sleep:
“I boil water and add in a magnesium supplement called Natural Calm. It has a lemony flavor, and it bubbles a bit. It’s like drinking a cup of tea before bed. I try to turn off the TV while I drink it and really be mindful of how warm the mug feels in my hands, how the steam hits my face, and how the smell and tiny bubbles tingle on my nose. It feels indulgent to leave the mug until the next morning, so I never put it in the dishwasher right away!”
– Anna Glennon, Education
“My go-to routine varies between a warm Epsom salt bath, a dose of CBD tincture, meditation, essential oils, reading, no screens two hours before bed, a magnesium supplement, breathing exercises, and a sleep mask.”
– Bethany Holmes, Education
“I've been using a sound machine, listening to rain sounds. It really helps!”
– Marissa LaRocca, Education
“I like to do an easy 10-minute stretch to get rid of any kinks from the day. Afterward, I'll try to avoid technology by either reading and/or doing a quick meditation. Having my dog by my side during this is definitely an added bonus!”
– Sujin Park, Marketing
“I like to write in my journal before bed. Sometimes it's just random thoughts, or documenting a dream I had. Other times I'm writing to set an intention, i.e., ‘sleep peacefully’ or ‘gain clarity on a difficult life decision.’ Once I am done journaling, I feel ‘released’ of any weight. My thoughts are out of my head, my intentions have been set, and the rest is up to the universe. I also sleep with an eye mask to ensure that the morning light does not wake me up rudely.”
– Heather Freudenthal, Education
“My evening routine includes a hot cup of Yogi bedtime tea, diffusing doTerra's Serenity essential oil blend and applying it topically, and reading a few pages of a book until I fall asleep.”
– Jen Kirsteins, Admissions
“About an hour or so before I go to bed, I have a cup of Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night tea while I'm doing the last of any screen time. Once I get to bed, I tuck my phone in a phone sleeping bag and I'll do Padabhyanga, which is the Ayurvedic practice of foot massage. I'm obsessed with using the Daily Stone moisturizing bar. I'll read for an hour or so and then turn the lights out as soon as I start feeling sleepy.”
– Jill Bauman, Admissions
“Since we're working from home, it can be easy to blur the lines between creating a productive and peaceful space. I try my best to create a simple sanctuary for myself by diffusing some lavender and reading a book to relax my mind and body before going to sleep.”
– Ashley Hampton, Marketing
“I keep the lights minimal and dim and cut out blue light from electronics a couple hours before bed. Although I try to avoid it, if I end up using the computer or television, I will use blue light–blocking glasses. Blue light disrupts our circadian rhythm and melatonin production. The quick hits of stimuli that electronics provide also stimulate brain activity, which you want to avoid when winding down.
“For most of human history, when the sun went down, it was dark, with light coming only from fire, so I try to emulate the same conditions for my body to get ready for a restful sleep. I opt for journaling, reading, and meditation before bed to help shift my mental state and promote relaxation. I sleep cool and dark as possible for 7–8 hours, with the phone out of the bedroom and on airplane mode. This also helps because, when my alarm goes off in the morning, I can't just roll over and hit snooze! I have to get up and shut it off, a minor inconvenience that helps me start my day.”
– Zach Bodenweber, Admissions
“I've been going to bed early enough (very early, according to many people – 10pm at the latest on weeknights) so that I wake the next morning on my own, without an alarm, early enough to have time to exercise, read, and/or journal before I start my day. I also avoid looking at my computer or phone at least half an hour before bed, if possible.”
– Jamie Wolff, Education
“My partner and I have started putting our cell phones and other electronics away in our office at 9pm. This has made a big difference in our sleep as well as our personal connection. Less distractions!”
– Noah Zingarelli, Education
What are you doing to wind down and get better sleep? Tell us in the comments below or tag us on Instagram @nutritionschool.