These are the games my mind likes to play at night when I’m ready to fall asleep:
“Top 10 Random Scenarios That WIll Never Happen”
“Why Did I Say That?”
“Re-play That Scene from 6 Years Ago Over and Over Again”
“All the Things I Need to Do Tomorrow”
And so on.
I know you know what I’m talking about.
A restless mind is the gatekeeper to restful sleep, pacing back and forth, barring entry with its persistent whirl of thoughts. It creates anxiety where there is none. It keeps us from important dreamwork. It robs us of our daytime peace by trapping us in a cycle of fatigue and frustration.
But what if we could negotiate with the gatekeeper, perhaps even trick it, by offering it tools and rituals to help it, and us, find calm? Well you can! And you don't need to take potentially harmful pills or meds to do so.
Here are ten strategies, including herbal aids from our apothecary, to quiet the mind and invite the deep, restorative sleep your body, mind, and spirit crave.
1. Write it Out
Start a bedtime journal. Pouring thoughts onto paper leaves them on the page and off your mind. It’s a therapeutic way to close the day’s chapter. Let's not even get into the long-term transformative impact of journaling...it's a thing. For now, suffice to say giving your mind an outlet before bed can help it switch into rest mode when your head hits the pillow.
Our Bedtime Balm will help your mind shift gears with the sweet and soothing scent of lavender and ylang ylang. Apply to stress points and let the calming aroma escort your thoughts to a quieter place. Try diffusing chamomile or lavender essential oils, dab some lovely restful scents on your wrist, take an aromatherapy hot bath - experiment and see what works for you.
3. Brew a Cup of Dream Tea
At LeeHouse, a bedtime tea has been a part of our nightly routine for years. We’ve tried all the teas for soothing restless minds, and ended up creating our own that brings together our favorite flavors and effects. Dusty’s Dream Tea brings together soothing chamomile, catnip, and passionflower with a yummy lemon-y mint zing and is truly a bedtime buddy.
4. Ashwagandha: An Ancient Adaptogen
A revered adaptogen, ashwagandha helps in moderating the stress hormone cortisol. Ashwagandha is believed to regulate the body’s stress response and regulate neurotransmitters, like serotonin and GABA, which helps to balance stress hormone levels and reduce anxiety. Ashwagandha tincture an hour or so before bed really helps my mind calm, especially when I'm really busy or have a lot going on (two things that almost always lead to insomnia).
5. Boost Your Magnesium
Half of us don't get enough of this superhero mineral that's critical for over 600 body processes(!), including the management of cortisol and melatonin in our bodies. If you're ramped up when the lights go out, try having a bit of dark chocolate before bed, take a magnesium bath soak, or rub magnesium lotion on your feet (better yet - get someone else to rub magnesium lotion on your feet). If you prefer the supplement route, try 200 mg about 30 minutes before you hit the hay— an empty stomach will let it work its magic faster. Most nutrionists recommend a supplement that combines Magnesium Gylcinate and Gluconate as best for sleep.
6. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises, or pranayama, can be an anchor in the stormy seas of a restless mind. Practice rhythmic breathing to signal relaxation to your nervous system. When I can’t sleep, I like to take a big sigh, close my eyes and “look” at the spot between my eyebrows - eventually I’ll see a pinpoint of light. I breathe into it, and text thing I know, it’s morning!
7. Technology Detox Before Bed
Blue light from screens can keep the mind buzzing. Detox from digital devices at least an hour before bed to help your brain shift into sleep mode. Don't forgot to put your phone on airplane mode before you turn out the lights!
8. A Creature of Good Habits
Build a consistent pre-bedtime schedule. Whether it’s reading, stretching, or listening to calming music, regular rituals become signals that tell your mind it’s time to unwind. One of my favorite pre-bed activities to enjoy with the afore-mentioned cup of tea is a sound bath - find a sound bath on youtube, pop in your airpods, close your eyes and sink into it. Crystal bowl sound baths are omg - try this one. Or this one. Or this one.
9. Pillow Talk
Guided sleep meditations or sleepcasts can provide a narrative to focus on, luring your thoughts away from worries and onto a path leading to sleep. Again, turn to youtube and see what strikes your fancy.
10. A Consistent Wake-Sleep Cycle
Align with your body’s natural clock. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day creates a rhythm your mind will begin to follow willingly. After a week or two you'll find your body and mind prepping themselves for bed at around the same time, every night.
Of course, these are just a few ways to trick your dream gatekeeper into sweet, sweet rest. Self-massage, restorative yoga, meditation, exercise during the day, white noise or the sound of rain.....it's just a matter of finding the right combo for you.
Combining these practices with our Herbal Sleep Kit, featuring Dusty’s Dream Tea, Bedtime Balm, and our Ashwagandha Tincture as part of your nightly bedtime routine. Here’s to sweet dreams!
While our strategies promote relaxation, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. If sleep disturbances persist, consult a healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This blog content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your sleep practices or if you have ongoing concerns about your sleep patterns.