How to Start the Perfect Bedtime Ritual

You know the saying “laughter is the best medicine”? Sleep might be a close second, if not a tie for first.

After a good night’s sleep I feel like a new person. I’m more alert, creative, and able to take on challenges. It’s such a magical thing, yet I’ve read that Americans are more sleep deprived than ever. Our tired bodies and minds need to rest – and heal.

There’s no time like the present (which also happens to be National Sleep Awareness Week) to look at our sleep habits.

Improving our sleep starts with our bedtime ritual.

I created a little acronym to help us…START >>

{S} Soften the landing

This lovely bedding is from Crane & Canopy. #affiliate

First and foremost, your bed should be the center of attention. Make it as cozy and welcoming as possible so when you enter your bedroom, all you want to do is kick off your shoes and sink down in its soft embrace.

Here are a few ways to make your bed more special:

  • Splurge on your bedding. We {should be} spending at least 8 hours a day here, so it’s worth the investment. Pick out the most beautiful pattern with the softest thread and treat yo’ self.
  • Layer on the softest blankets and pillows so it’s like a cozy nest every time you land.
  • Make the bed every morning so at night it feels like you’re entering a new space.
  • Freshen up your sheets by washing them at least every two weeks. Once a week is ideal.

{T} Take care of your body

Right before bed is the perfect time to check in with yourself. You’re already brushing your teeth and washing your face. What else needs attention? If your muscles are tight, maybe do some gentle stretches. Here are some yoga poses that are wonderful before bed.

If your mind won’t settle, try relaxing in a hot bath with epsom salts. The magnesium in the salts will help lull you to sleep – among plenty of other great benefits. Pair that with a cup of almond milk or camomile tea, and you’ll sleep like a champ.

{A} Adjust the air

The best way to appreciate a warm, cozy bed is to set a cool temperature. In fact, the suggested bedroom temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees to get the best sleep.

Another thing I like to do is make my room smell nice. (You know me and my thing with smells.) I spritz my pillows with fresh lavender water right before bed. The fragrance is so relaxing, and the recipe is super easy. >

  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/4 cup Vodka
  • 10 drops of lavender oil
  • Mix all of the ingredients together. Pour into a spray bottle (or two). Store in the refrigerator.

{R} Remove distractions

Your room should be a quiet, calm space that you can retreat to when needed. Clear off your night stand, add fresh flowers to make it pretty, and (…here’s the tough one) put your phone away at least an hour before bed.

This is non-negotiable, though, if you want a more restful night. Research shows spending time with smartphones late at night is contributing to a national epidemic of undersleep. Yikes.

Ideally, we’d leave them in the next room so we’re not tempted to answer texts, emails or Facebook notifications. Since I use my phone as an alarm, I keep it next to the bed – but with the ringer off. It’s still hard to ignore sometimes. #workinprogress

{T} Thank the day

Taking a moment to feel grateful at the end of the day has been a game changer for me. Instead of focusing on what went wrong and playing conversations over and over in my mind like a bad song on replay, I try to shift my focus to what went right.

What did I love about my day? Even if it was a crapper, what redeeming qualities can I dig up? Did I get to hug my kids? Did my dinner taste delicious? Does my bed feel good?

Making a commitment to writing these things down in a journal or on a piece of paper that goes in a gratitude jar can literally change our lives for the better.

That’s a START, anyway. I’d love to know what other bedtime rituals you have.

Until next time, I’m wishing you sweet dreams.

Kate

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Lovely Lavender No-Sew Sachets

IMG_4169The smell of lavender can be intoxicatingly good. Giving someone a bundle of fresh lavender wrapped in silk ribbon always makes a nice gesture.

In fact when given as a gift, lavender flowers represent luck. They also offer the promise of new adventure. So why not go the extra mile and make a no-sew lavender sachet for your favorite travel buddy? Sachets are perfect for tucking into a suitcase for a sweet-smelling arrival. I mean, who wouldn’t that?

Let’s do this thing.

First you’ll need a bundle of dried lavender buds. Either buy some in bulk or create your own. To DIY, simply cut fresh stalks from your garden. Either hang the lavender stems upside down to air dry or lay them flat on a towel for a few days. Once the buds are dried out, strip them off the stem into a pile. This is what you’ll use inside your sachets.

If you don’t have access to fresh lavender, don’t despair. You can still make sachets with a couple of tablespoons of uncooked rice and a few drops of lavender oil.

Now take an antique handkerchief or pretty scrap of fabric cut into a 6” square. Place the lavender buds in the center of your fabric. Pull all four ends together into a bundle and tie with a pretty ribbon.

IMG_4187You can add a personalized note to complete the package. Now go surprise someone with this precious gift.

What’s your favorite way to use lavender?

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