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Whether it's taking a daily ritual from expected to extraordinary or discovering the wonderment and beauty of anew travel destination, J.R. McCabe elevates the everyday with timeless taste and comfortable confidence.
Sleep — vital to our physical well-being, mental strength, and harmony of spirit. Reasons enough that it should not be met in an ordinary and mundane manner. Sleep is a sacred event and the ritual of preparing for nighttime slumber should rise to the occasion. Here are my five tips on how to elevate your sleep ceremony:
#1 Wear Proper Pajamas
Meet the magic of the moment with proper pajamas. Choose pajamas that evoke a sense of intimate formality. Pajamas should bring comfort, put you in a state of light-hearted ease, and send you off to la la land feeling properly attired for dream travel.
#2 Make it Inviting
There is nothing quite like the feeling of pulling back the covers of a well-made bed. Crisp ironed sheets, fluffy pillows, and a warm puffy duvet all seem to greet you with delight at the end of a long day. These aesthetic touches will make all the difference in how you approach bedtime. While the bed is the star of the show, taking note of what you keep on your bedside table is equally important. Clear out any clutter that has accumulated over time and instead place items that are calming. For example, I don’t keep a clock near my bed. I find the quick glance of the time equally jarring at night and in the morning. Instead, I keep my phone on airplane mode in the drawer of my nightstand and the soft, distance sound of the bells wakes me up in the morning. Simple luxuries like fresh flowers and pretty books or jotters also make a world of difference.
#3 Wind Down Time
Once you’ve attended to setting the stage with pajamas and bedding, a daily sleep ceremony officially begins with wind down time. For many adults decompressing from the stresses of the day likely involves alcohol, television, and/or social media, any of which lead to restless sleep. My rule is no food/beverages, television, or phone for at least three hours before hitting the sack.
Sometime after dinner I also go into the bedroom and do a traditional turndown. I turn down the duvet about a foot and lay the flat sheet folded back on top of it. Two hours before bed time I’m either tidying up my creative studio or the kitchen, getting matters in order for the next day, making chamomile tea, reading a book, or in warmer months taking an evening stroll. Find the solution that brings a sense of calm and ease to the evening — needlepoint, writing cards or notes, planning menus, conversation and/or games with loved ones are all wonderful options.
#4 Sacred Ritual
Every ceremony has its sacred rituals. When it comes to sleep anything that tends to soothe the senses usually fits the bill. For me, that involves four things: tea, oils, music, and books. I use essential oils to fill my space with a subtle floral fragrance. Aromatherapy has been scientifically proven to work on the olfactory system at such a deep energetic level that it stimulates the brain to release mood enhancing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. I enjoy a pot of chamomile tea, the soft sound of string quartets, and a book the contents of which sends me off to sleep in a high vibration.
#5 Clear Space
Clearing out the complexities and challenges of the day is essential to sound sleep. The best practice I’ve found through the years for this is writing. Keep a journal for your eyes only that releases all the noise of your inner world. By putting it down on paper you transfer it from holding mental space to being something you literally place aside, almost as if you were carrying a heavy sac that you unload. If writing doesn’t suit you then perhaps an early evening run or other type of workout will do the trick. Any solo activity is best for this as complaining to another, masked as conversation, just keeps you marinating in what you are trying to release. When I journal, I do it before I pick up my book to read. I empty out all my thoughts, concerns, and even to-dos. This way there is a clear turning point where I signal to my brain that I have left the day behind and am now traveling to another world, whichever literary world I find myself in, where those cares are not invited. ✨