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Create and Perform a Bedtime Ritual: Lifestyle Practice

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Create and Perform a Bedtime Ritual

Simple Instructions:

  1. Set aside at least the last 10 minutes before you go to bed to perform actions that prepare you for a good night’s sleep
  2. Once you perform these actions, you must go to bed. That is, the ritual must immediately precede getting into bed, with no distractions in between.
  3. The rituals can be anything you want. They can be outer (physical) or inner (mental or spiritual) rituals.

Some Ideas:

  • Read something calming or inspirational.
  • Turn off all electronics like the TV, phone, and computer.
  • An intentional practice around cleaning up for bed, like brushing, flossing, and washing up.
  • Whatever ritual you choose, try lighting a candle before starting and blowing it out when you are done.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Take a contrast shower: 30 seconds of hot water followed by 30 seconds of cold, repeated three times.
  • Create intentions for your sleep, either written or in your mind. Declare for yourself how you want your sleep to go and what you would like to get out of it.
  • Complete the day with your significant other. One idea might be to take time sharing what you appreciated about yourself, them, and the day in general. Take a couple of turns each!

Watch this video for an explanation of this Lifestyle Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.

Why Is This Practice Important?

Sleep is an extremely important part of our well-being. Often, we don’t get enough. Even if we do, the quality can suffer depending on the day, your mental state, and even your own thoughts about how good a sleeper you are.

Lack of good sleep can have immediate effects on our mood and daily experience and long-term effects on our health. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and creating a nightly pre-bedtime practice can change both your feelings about and your experience of sleeping.

Believe it or not, good sleep takes practice. You can become a great sleeper!

One of the best places to start is in creating your sleep environment — that can include both your physical and mental space. Turning your attention away from the clutter of the day and clearing your space and your mind can go a long way toward ensuring you are properly prepared to hit the sheets.

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For More on This Practice

This week on the podcast, Andy spoke with Dr. Steve Orma — a clinical psychologist and happiness expert specializing in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and stress. He overcame insomnia himself, so he knows first-hand how a lack of sleep can negatively impact energy, health, and well-being. For Dr. Orma’s thoughts on the importance of a bedtime ritual, click through to the podcast and jump to 12:50.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.