How to Wind Down Mindfully and Relax Before Bed

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Hey There Angel,

Today I want to jam on how to wind down your day with ease. If you’re like me, it’s easy to get into the habit of cramming in as much as possible to your already-crazy schedule. When I take off my work hat and step back into my role as wife to my guy and mom to my dogs (and caretaker of my garden!), I find a whole other (gigantic) to-do list waiting for me. Sometimes I push so hard that I’m dead to the world the second I hit the pillow. On those nights, I don’t sleep so well and you better believe I guzzle coffee the next day, then follow it up with sugary stuff to fight my fatigue.

But on nights when I wind down mindfully, I have the most restful sleeps, and productive days follow. So what does that look like—a calming, mindful evening? Let’s find out!

Here are my 5 favorite nighttime wind down practices:

1. Start earlier: Yes, there’s laundry to do, stuff to organize and piles that won’t put themselves away. But the more amped up we get before we go to bed, the harder it is to settle in and drift off. If I don’t get eight hours of sleep on a consistent basis, my everything suffers—especially my health. So here’s the tip: Ween yourself off the late night putter and those racking and stacking Netflix marathons! Your body, brains and beauty will be so grateful to you.

2. Take a hot shower or bath: Nothing soothes your nervous system like warm water. It washes the day and stress away. Apparently, the water raises our body temperature by one to two degrees, and so the immediate cool down period we experience clicks us into relaxation mode. Aaahhh. Here’s a great bathtub soaking recipe: Add 2 cups epsom salt, 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and a few dashes of lavender to warm water. Try it next time you lounge in the tub. Light a candle. Let it all go. And while a hot shower or bath will definitely soothe your bones, you don’t want to sleep in a hot room. Keep it cool, baby. Ideally, you’ll want your bedroom temp to be between 67 and 70 degrees.

3. Be careful with the stimulants: Coffee past noon and too much alcohol at night mess with our natural sleep rhythms, as does nicotine, which raises your heart rate and brain activity. While I love a good glass of wine every once in awhile, more than one makes me wicked drowsy and then pops me awake a few hours later. Yuck. Dread. And once I’m up, I often have a hard time snoozing again. Another stimulant to keep in check is that super-engaging iPad screen! Typically, your body uses the hormone melatonin to help make you sleepy, but here’s the thing: Melatonin won’t release properly if you’re exposed to too much light. So for the sake of your health, leave the electronics out of your room. Oh, and one more tip: If you have trouble balancing your blood sugar, eat a teaspoon or two of almond butter before bed or if you wake up with insomnia. This really helps!

4. Prep the night before: Lay your clothes out. Pack your bags. Do whatever you have to do to ensure you’re not rushing around in the morning. I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this, but one morning last year I was late for the airport, and I literally walked out the door without my pants. Full disclosure: I had underwear and shorts on, but totally forgot my trousers. You know how it goes: you’re curling your hair, trying to put on makeup without blinding yourself, cramming stuff into your suitcase and bam! No pants. LOL.

Another way to prep is to get your juice and smoothie stuff ready to go so it’s waiting for you in the AM. Figure out what you’re going to make, wash it, prep it, put it in Debbie Meyer green bags (they extend the life of your produce) and then whip up your goodness first thing. Trust me, this one tip saves oodles of time. For yummy recipes, you can order my book Crazy Sexy Juice. I promise to blow your taste buds away. 😉

5. Do the 3 wins exercise (OMG, I love this one and I’m so excited to share it with you. Please try it!): I learned this exercise from a friend of mine and I do it with my husband and friends all the time.

3 Wins Worksheet

Here’s an example of 3 of my wins from this summer:

1. I went camping and rafting for the first time and it was epically fun—and I pooped in the wilderness. Never done that before. I used to think camping was opening the windows! I’ve definitely made progress.

2. Buddy (my disabled dog) got really confident using his wheelie cart to motor around. It took a while, but with a lot of encouragement and work, he’s zooming like a champ.

3. I fell madly in love with my garden and I’m so grateful to have that creative space to learn and grow, grow, grow.

So there you have it, my love—a few ideas for how you can wind down mindfully.

Your turn: Either share how you like to wind down or share one of your recent wins! I’d love to hear.

Peace and zzz’s,

Kris Carr

P.S. Want to drift off peacefully?

Meditation is one of the easiest ways for you to clear your mind after a long day. Start by checking out my Self-Care for Busy People meditation album—with each track under 15 minutes, you’ll find it easy to fit a mindfulness practice into your busy, beautiful life. Sample the Pep Talk meditation today!