Here are some nightly rituals of mine -- little acts that help me feel soothed and centered before crawling into bed.
I love showering at night. My hair has a naturally groovy wave to it, so it works best if I go to bed with slightly damp hair and let it do its thing overnight.
Beyond bathing at at night being the more practical choice for me...it's also soothing. There's nothing like crawling into bed with warm, soft, fragrant skin. It helps me sleep so much more peacefully. Don't forget to moisturize! (I love Aveda's tourmaline line & coconut oil.)
Oh, blessed pajamas! I lean toward soft, neutral-hued, layerable pieces. I wear mostly white, gray, balletic pink and beige -- slips, half-slips, camisoles, lots of lace. Very romantic and gentle -- a bit like an off-duty ballerina, top bun optional. I love scouring the thrift stores as well as Free People & UO's sale sections for pieces that work for both daytime and lounging.
Candles are such a mood booster. To me, they signal that someone is home and wants to be home, wants to stay awhile, get cozied in. Plus, they're multi-sensory. A deep-fragranced candle will soothe your senses, but what really gets me is that flickering glow. At night, I'll light candles in all the different corners of the apartment, and it creates such a comforting flow as you move from space to space.
While I'm not always the best, I'm always trying to be better about setting my phone down an hour or so before bed. The fluorescent glow and the inundation of images sort of clutters my brain, and I often find myself taking longer to fall asleep if I'm glued to it. I try, instead, to read. Sometimes if the last thing I take in before sleep is someone else's creativity -- rather than trying to put out my own -- it reinforces that I don't always have to go-go-go. I can appreciate what someone else created instead.
In the hours leading up to bed, I always try to drink several glasses of water. Unfortunately, I'd be up every few minutes if I sipped water right before sleep, so I try to jumpstart this ritual earlier in the evening. Also, staying properly hydrated will curb false messages from your body that seem to be hunger -- when often, you're just thirsty!
One tiny exception to the unplugging principle: white noise app. I love my white noise app. Every night, we crawl in bed, turn off the lights, and turn on the white noise app -- set to the sound of a soft fan. We actually use a real fan too. But it's something of a Pavlov's dogs thing for us at this point -- to us, the sound signals sleep time.
While it's not always possible to go to bed with a perfectly clean apartment...it's nice to keep the immediate surfaces around your bed tidy. A cluttered bedside table is indicative of a cluttered mind in my case. The ritual of putting things in their places helps me feel organized -- even if life is anything but. And the small act of neatly placing any extra jewelry into a little, dedicated box (or tray, or teacup -- always in rotation) signals to me that things are intact, and that tomorrow is a new day.