6 Healthier Ways to Unwind Tonight

JANUARY 12, 2024

Hi! I'm Lauren.

You're destined for greatness, and
my job is to help you look, feel,
& perform at your best while embracing your purpose-filled life.
What does your nighttime routine look like?

Do you have one?

Does it consist of scrolling through social media or falling asleep with Netflix asking “are you still watching?

No shame, many of us have been there!

I know it’s not always easy to pull ourselves away from work or what is often the only moment that we have to ourselves in the day, but it's crucial to prioritize good quality sleep.

Being underslept can lead to weight gain (especially around the middle), sugar and junk food cravings, impaired focus and decision-making, increased stress and emotional reactivity, and other serious long-term health conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease!

So if you’re ready to take back your evenings and get intentional about your bedtime habits, here are a few ideas of habits to build into your PM routine, so you can truly get good quality rest for a healthier, happier you.

1. Gentle yoga or stretching:  Release tension and improve flexibility and mobility with some easy stretches or yoga poses. These activities also encourage deep breathing, further promoting relaxation and a calm state of mind.

2. Reading or journaling:  Be sure to choose your journaling topics wisely, or else journaling can have the opposite effect and be too stimulating for the mind. If you’ve found this to be the case for you as well, it may be best to avoid journaling about charged emotions, situations or memories (and even to-do lists many times), too close to bed. What I’ve found works great here instead is to simply do a gratitude list. It’s relaxing, non-stimulating, and puts you in a great headspace before drifting off into dreamland.

Personally on nights where I include reading in my evening routine, I like to read something uplifting like a comforting piece of scripture for the same reason.

3. Aromatherapy:  Create a calming atmosphere using essential oils like lavender, roman chamomile, or vetiver (an acquired scent, but very calming). Diffuse the oils, rub them on the soles of your feet before bed or add a few dozen drops to a warm (not hot) bath with a cup of magnesium chloride flakes or pure Epsom salt.

4. Meditation or mindfulness practice:  Set aside 10-15 minutes in the evening to practice meditation or mindfulness. This can help you release stress and calm your mind before bed as well as help you become more present in your days. There’s tons of guided meditations of varying degrees online, you can also try simply doing breathwork, or this is also a great place to practice gratitude.

5. Listen to calming lyric-less music, nature sounds, binaural or isochronic tones:  Playing soft, calming music or white noise in the background can help create a relaxing atmosphere and reduce stress. Choose soothing genres like calming classical or ambient music, or opt for nature sounds like rain, ocean waves, or a babbling brook or other general “sleep noises”. If you’ve got a pair of wired headphones, listening to binaural or isochronic tones can be incredibly helpful for reducing negative emotions and inducing sleep.

6. Use a foam roller or massage ball:  Focus on areas where you feel tightness or discomfort, such as the neck, shoulders, or lower back. These myofascial release techniques can improve circulation, release tension, and encourage relaxation, helping you wind down in the evenings and feel better, and healthier throughout your days. Give this process 10-15 minutes for an effective, relaxing session. For some people even gentle myofascial release can be uncomfortable at first, so work up to it if you need to.

This is just a short list of things that you can build your evening routine on.

Combine a few of these and create a routine that you genuinely look forward to each evening.

Make it an experience for yourself! 

Be sure to also make it something that doesn’t require a lot of effort to actually do. You want it to be as frictionless as possible so you’ll actually stick to doing it each evening. 

Lastly, don’t be discouraged if you don’t nail your routine on the first night (it’s not likely that you will, and that's okay!). Try a few things and keep tweaking your nighttime routine until it’s something that’s effective for you, then consistently let it usher you into dreamland each night.

Happy resting!

- Lauren

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