If you’re running a Heart-Centered Business, listen up…
You need to start putting yourself first!
Rest, sleep and downtime is so essential to the success of your business. If you’re feeling a little tapped out then maybe it’s time to invest in a routine to help you achieve more balance, rest and relaxation!
This article, where I will take you through my 6 Night Time Rituals that have helped take me from wide eyed insomnia to restful sleep is going to help you as soon as tonight.
Get yourself ready, brew a tea or coffee (or glass of red if you’ve switched off for the day!) and my challenge for you is to try at least one of the steps listed in this article tonight.
You finally get to bed after a long day of being ‘on’ for everyone else. You’ve been drawn in a million ways, you’ve been multi-tasking like a ninja, you’ve been across everything you needed to be and although you were busy, you’re not sure it made a dent in your overall business goals.
You know that you need rest and your body is begging for sleep – but your mind is racing. You’re unable to switch off and you keep your body awake for hours, looking at the clock and stressing as the hours tick by.
I hear you – I’ve lived that night over and over.
It can be debilitating, especially if it’s happening more regularly than not. The next day, you feel so low, so down on energy and you’re just going through the motions. It’s not joyful, not happy, and not at all productive.
If you’re a Heart-Centered Business Owner, trying to create amazing experiencing for your customers, grow a loved-up community, getting ready for a launch (plus trying to be amazing in all other areas of your life) rest and sleep is essential for your productivity!
A rested mind and body is one of the best feelings in the world – and the better you rest, sleep and relax, the more vibrant, strong and productive you’ll be the next day.
When you have amazing energy you can create amazing things! As a Heart-Centered Boss I know how amazing your big goals and big intentions are. So ain’t nobody got time for sleepless nights!
“Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will move mountains”. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Firstly, why is sleep so important for us?
Although we all need sleep – why we need sleep is still not entirely clear. We know sleep gives our body time to heal and recover. We know that if we don’t get enough sleep, our decision making process is impaired and we’re just “not thinking straight!”
Journalist David K. Randall says: “Sleep is ingrained in our cultural ethos as something that can be put off, dosed with coffee, or ignored. And yet maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is now thought of as one of the best forms of preventative medicine.”
The bottom line – we function better when we get sleep and we need to make a good night’s sleep a priority! When you’re well rested you can take on the world and get through everything you need to, feeling as positive and motivated as possible.
6 Night Time Rituals to take you from sleepless nights to heavenly slumber!
Step 1 – Stop!
Stop work. Stop scrolling facebook. Stop posting on Instagram. Stop looking at recipes on Pinterest. Stop the music. Stop listening to a podcast. Stop watching TV. Just stop!
The white light that our tablets and screens omit has been shown to disrupt our sleep cycles because they interfere with our melatonin (the sleep hormone) levels.
I have a one hour rule – I “log-off” from it all at least one hour before bed. It doesn’t mean I can’t read or relax, or clean the kitchen if I’m really inclined to! But it does mean that I’m giving my mind the best possible chance of slipping into a peaceful slumber faster.
Take away tip: Am I logging off and giving my brain a chance to wind down before bed?
Step 2 – Zen Your Space
The space you sleep should be sacred. It should be a space you love and adore and feel safe and comfortable.
To create the most zen space, here’s some suggestions:
- Sheets that feel soft and amazing (1000 thread cotton should do the trick) and pillows that support your neck and back.
- Soft light when you’re relaxing. I’ve tried candles (the light distracts me), I’ve tried oil burners (depending on what the smell is, can stimulate you), I’ve tried soft lights, no lights, absolute darkness – trust me when I say I’ve been struggling with this for a while! What works well is a warm lamp light (yellow or orange based) that is down low and you can easily reach to turn off when you need to
- A neat, clean, de-cluttered room – so when you’re trying to sleep you’re not worried by the messiness!
- A cool, beautiful smelling room. If you work from home you can clean your room, make the bed, open those windows and light an oil burner or candle for a few hours to get a nice scent and clean air floating through all day. (If you don’t work from home, you can do this in the evening!) It’s been shown that a cool room provides for better sleep, and there really is nothing like walking into a well aired, scrumptious smelling room when you need rest and relaxation.
- Something in your room that makes you feel happy. For me, I have a framed picture of my partner and I that every time I look at it makes me feel so joyful. I also have a beautiful art print that one of my besties gave me. It’s hung directly opposite my bed and each time I look at it, I smile.
Take away tip: Am I doing everything I can to create a space of rest and relaxation before bed?
Step 3 – Cleanse and cleanse again
Not only is cleaning your body and face at night time essential for your skin to get clear of the make-up, sweat, oil and dirt it’s collected during the day, it’s an excellent way to start to unwind and mentally prepare for sleep.
Remember when you would get prepared for sleep time when you were a child? If it was anything like my childhood, it was bath time, pyjamas, story time and then sleep. Our bodies remember this ritual, so when we re-introduce this process our muscle memory kicks in!
Definitely clean your face and body, but you can also clean your mind. Make a mental note or a physical note of all the ideas, experiences, conversations and that you want to move past as you go to sleep.
Maybe you weren’t as productive as you wanted to be, maybe you had an uncomfortable conversation with a client or a supplier, maybe you missed out on a deal, had some harsh words with your partner or a friend wasn’t as supportive as you would have liked – whatever it was that gave you any grief during the day, try to let it go.
Take away tip: Am I clean?!
Research from The University of Manchester found that people who went to bed with higher levels of gratitude slept longer than those who didn’t. So increasing your gratitude levels can actually help you get to sleep!
Chances are there have been a heap of little things (and hopefully some big things too) that you can give thanks for and express your gratefulness for at the end of each day.
This exercise alone can help alleviate some stress and tension before you get to bed, and I find it actually works best when the day hasn’t been that amazing. A ‘bad’ day can show us all the things we take for granted on a good day, like a strong cup of tea, a hug from your partner, a kind comment from a friend or an awesome email from a customer.
You can think about these things, or you can write them down in a short journal entry. Journalling has been a massive game-changer for me!
Take away tip: As you’re getting ready for bed, think of at least 5 things that you are grateful for!
I try (I say that again – I try…) to go to bed at roughly the same time each night. Usually I’ll go to sleep between 10:00pm and 10:30pm, knowing my body needs 8 hours of sleep and I will wake up naturally at 6/6:30am. It took me a lot of years to figure this rhythm out and what time works for me personally – and a lot of discipline.
Stretching has been a game-changer for me! Stretching your hips, back, neck and shoulders before bed can help get some blood and oxygen flowing around your body and your muscles before bed, releasing any tension or stress that has built up over the day.
Alice Beckett-Wilson, physical therapist and wellness expert says: “Stretching before going to bed is helpful in getting a good night’s sleep, and all stretches should be done with a focus on breathing.”
With your breathing, focus on full, deep breaths and take a few moments to close your eyes and let your breath fill and empty your lungs. Take a few minutes so stretch, do some deep breathing, focusing on relaxing your muscles – if you have a partner, you can do this together!
Take away tip: Set aside 5 minutes each night to stretch and breathe before bed, and try to go to bed each night at the same time.
Visualisation exercises can help you let go of the stresses of the day and mentally get prepared for a deep, restful sleep and a happy next day.
Allow yourself to go to a comfortable, warm, safe place in your mind. Relax, breathe and close your eyes.
If there is anything you want to envisage happening in the coming days, you can focus on that now. These might be your goals, both business and personal or it might be a specific event that you’re building towards.
Whatever it is, focus on it, think about how it looks, what it feels like, what it will add to your life and your business and your family, how you will feel once you’ve achieved it and allow yourself to drift into a beautiful, deep sleep.
Take away tip: Visualise what you would love to invite into your coming days and weeks – what do you want to see happening in your life?
If my routine fails me, and my mind is racing, I ask myself a few questions:
- Have I drunk too much caffeine and do I need to drink more water to hydrate? If you’re dehydrated you’ll probably find it hard to get to sleep.
- Am I stressed about something in particular? If I am, I write it out. I keep writing until I feel safe and stress free. I will keep asking myself the question; Why?. Why is this stressing me? But why? But why? Etc and then I’ll usually end up with one small answer – that when I look at it, doesn’t seem that big and scary.
- Am I too excited? When I get a big idea or decide on a new project, I’m so excited! I just want to work on it, develop it, brainstorm it, and I’ll keep working on it until the sun creeps up. I know it will wreck me for the next day so I try not to do that anymore, knowing my body relies on a good 8 hours of solid sleep, so I tell myself the big idea can wait until the morning and it’s awesome that I’m so excited but I need to rest!
- Have I moved enough today? Have I stretched and done some deep breathing before bed? If not, I get out of bed, spend ten minutes stretching and then try to sleep again. This usually works a treat.
- Is it a full moon? Seriously! The night leading up to, and the night of a full moon I find it hard to sleep – and to get good sleep. This phenomenon actually has roots in our ‘caveman’ brain where the full moon night was not as dark and we were more susceptible to attack from predators.
- Is something emotionally upsetting me and do I need to talk it out? With my partner, my bestie, my Mum. Sometimes talking about an issue can make it feel a lot less scary than it actually is. Because of my family and friends being strewn all over the globe, whatever time it is, I know someone I love will be awake and possible available to chat it out!
Leonardo da Vinci said: “A well spent day brings happy sleep” and I really think that genius was onto something, so I know that best thing I can do to try and sleep really well is to enjoy a productive and happy day.
When I’m out of sync with my passion and purpose and not working towards my goals I find it hard to sleep because I instinctively know that I’m not being fulfilled.
So when this happens I spend some time getting completely realigned to my goals, my direction and my purpose and my calm power returns, letting me get to sleep knowing I’m back on track and ready to achieve a lot more the next day.
Heart-Centered Boss please start putting yourself first!
The stronger you are, the stronger you can be to take care of your business, family, your customers, crew and community.
If you’ve read through my Epic Productivity Guide for Heart-Centered Bosses in the Resource Library you’ll know how important self-care is for your productivity and growth – and making sure you get more sleep is a number one self-care strategy.
I urge you to create your own night time routine and see your world change!
Leave a comment below and let me know what is the biggest tip you’ve taken away from this article?