Getting ready for bed doesn’t necessarily mean brushing your teeth, washing your face, scrolling Instagram until the end of time (or closing your eyes, whatever the first thing to do). For licensed herbalist Rachelle Robinett, her goal before bed is to “calm down. [her] nervous system as completely as possible. And wouldn’t that be ideal? Well, that doesn’t have to be a distant dream.
If you start your nighttime routine when the sun begins to set and know the right herbs and oils that can help you sleep, with a few manageable swaps and additions, a feeling of peace, calm and relaxation before you go. falling asleep is not too hard to do. Say goodbye to catastrophic anxiety and the never-ending mental to-do list when your head hits the pillow because in the latest episode of the YouTube series Well + Good Herbal, Robinett walks you through a nighttime routine for optimal sleep and shares a recipe for a herbal hot chocolate nightcap that’s filled with sleep-enhancing nervines.
7 p.m .: At sunset
Dim the lights
For starters, Robinett recommends starting your nighttime routine when the sun begins to set. This gives you time to relax after work or a busy day, and leaves you room to really step into the calm, serene headspace you need for restful sleep.
Physically, having dinner around 7 p.m. or at sunset also gives your body time to digest your meal so you won’t be kept awake by stomach growls or indigestion.
Limit screen time
She suggests eating, dimming the lights, and putting your phone and other screens away, or putting on blue light-blocking glasses to limit harsh screen light in the early evening.
8 p.m .: After dinner
Take your melatonin
Contrary to popular belief (and many of our pre-existing habits), Robinett recommends taking your melatonin pill, tincture, or gum right after dinner. Melatonin is great for a multitude of things, from sleep to gastrointestinal support, and has so many useful qualities that some even consider it “the first non-plant adaptogen,” Robinett explains. Also, since melatonin typically takes around two hours to reach its full effect, it’s good to give yourself some time before bed to let it enter your system.
Take your fish oil
She also suggests taking your fish oil supplement at this time to help support your brain function and memory while you sleep. It is especially beneficial to take it after dinner, as the food in your stomach can help with its absorption.
Go for a walk
Finally, Robinett says taking a walk after dinner is helpful for digestion and for your eyes, body, and brain to see the sun go down and “see the natural darkness of the world around us.” [which helps] to grab our hormones and circadian rhythms that it’s time to go to sleep. “
9 p.m .: Before going to bed
Make a hot chocolate herb nightcap
After taking your walk, Robinett suggests packing a warm or cold nightcap that signals your body that it’s time to go to sleep. The best part is her favorite tastes the same as hot chocolate! Below are the ingredients to mix in the amount you want.
Oat milk or coconut milk
Rasa Calm Bend (mixed herbal brew)
Take your supplements
Robinett also has a host of pre-bed supplements that she enjoys taking for supreme sleep. She suggests taking ashwagandha in a powder, capsule or tincture, magnesium, L-tryptophan, L-theanine or a stronger blend like ZZZZ from Form Nutrition ($ 29) or MindYourMind from Hush and Hush ($ 55) if you want deeper or longer sleep when you can sleep in the morning.
Make your evening skin care routine
Now is the time to really take time off. Robinett loves dry brushing with the Karmameju Ionic Body Brush ($ 75). Dry brush your skin on your arms, legs, torso and then on your chest “towards your heart to stimulate your lymphatic system and to help with water retention,” she explains. After that, Robinett massages on Rowse Summer Body Oil ($ 49) and does his nighttime routine for skin, hair, and teeth. Having a routine like this is great because it gives you time to take care of yourself, but it’s also a habit that teaches your body what to expect and signals that the day is coming to an end.
10 p.m .: bedtime
Turn the lights off
Right before bed, Robinett suggests making your room cool and dark to prepare your space and find the most comfortable temperature for your body and your surroundings.
Use your essential oils
Robinett recommends spraying essential oils like lavender in your bedroom and putting a drop of it on your wrists and the tip of your nose. Lavender is a nervine, so when we inhale it or absorb it through the skin, it “will affect us as if we had consumed it in a tea,” Robinett explains. The best part about some scents is that if you pair them with a certain time of the night, they’ll also signal your body that it’s bedtime.
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