5 Bedtime Routines For Adults: Inspiration For A Good Night’s Sleep

According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science and India’s alternative medicine system, living in harmony with the rise and fall of the sun is paramount for good health. Daily routines and bedtime routines are necessary for both children and adults. If you don’t sleep well or your loved ones don’t sleep well, encourage them to set a sleep schedule and establish a bedtime routine.

Regular sleep patterns not only help establish good sleep, but they also help regulate digestion and elimination and balance moods. Good quality sleep keeps your memory working well and your mind clear and focused.

So take some inspiration from here…. a series of quick conversations with healthy and wise Ayurvedic practitioners and health counselors. Let these ‘Adult Bedtime Routines’ inspire you into a good night’s sleep, every single night.

Anja Brierley Lange Shares Her Bedtime Routine

Anja Brierley Lange on Adult Bedtime Routines
London-based Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher Anja Brierley Lange.

Q. What do you do in the evening to unwind before bed?
I love evenings. I love the twilight. When everything becomes calmer, slower and cozier. This is when my mind finally starts to quiet down. I switch off the telly, the computer and put away the phone. Now is the time for candle light and a good book.

The television, news, emails and social media are all Vata increasing. It is literally in the ether – the element of space which is associated with Vata. Vata is stimulating, moving, active and can manifest as anxiety and insomnia.

For me it is a natural time to meditate and practice a relaxing nourishing yoga routine. Slowing down the breath with pranayama is another way to enhance the quieting of the mind. My favourite is the balancing nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. It leads to a calm mind and is a natural transition to meditation.

One of my best loved nighttime rituals is abhyanga, or oil massage. In the evening I massage my feet with either a specific sleep oil, sesame or coconut oil. Foot massage grounds you and calms the mind. It is a fantastic way to pacify Vata and using a cooler oil such as coconut helps to sooth and cool down excessive Pitta too.

Massage gently, even sensuously, with love and attention. Even better: exchange a foot massage with your loved one

Q. Do you follow any nighttime ‘food rules’ for good health?

As a yoga teacher I often teach into the evening so the ayurvedic rule of eating around 6-7pm doesn’t always work. However, our late evening meals are generally warm, light and easy to digest. Soups, casseroles and kitchari are often on the menu. I like to sip either cumin tea which is great for the agni (digestive fire) or lemongrass tea. Lemongrass has a lovely taste as well as stimulating agni.

No cheesy pizza or big heavy meals on late nights!

Q. What home remedies do you use for a good night’s sleep?

I love a cup of warm herbal milk. Warm milk calms down Vata and Pitta dosha. It is also Ojas-increasing helping to balance any stress and depletion from the day.

Cow’s milk and almond are recommended in ayurveda. I use coconut, or make my own cashew or hempseed milk. Adding nutmeg is excellent for insomnia. Otherwise experiment with turmeric milk, cinnamon or a mix of rose and saffron.

If any of this fails to get me a good night’s sleep I rely on yoga nidra or yogic sleep. Yoga nidra is a guided relaxation that completely relaxes both body, mind and emotions.

About Anja Brierley Lange

Anja Brierley Lange is an eternal yoga student, yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner. She is dedicated to the continuous study, practice and teaching of both yoga and Ayurveda – the philosophies and the practical application in daily modern living. Anja believes Yoga and Ayurveda is about balance. You can find her online at YogaEmbodied.com.

Dee LeBorgne Shares Her Bedtime Routine

Bedtime Routines For Adults
Massage therapist and Ayurvedic lifestyle counselor Dee Leborgne. Photo by Avrisco Kasyanto.

Q. What do you do in the evening to unwind before bed?

After a long day at work, I take my shoes off and change my clothes. My environment needs to be comfortable and very cocooning. These actions are a signal for my body and mind to slow down, as Kapha time (6pm-10pm) is around the corner. The focus is to leave my problems and concerns at the door and focus on household and self-healing rituals.

I burn some incense to purify and nurture my first chakra and Kapha dosha. This helps provide more grounding as Vata time is finishing up its cycle. I make sure that all my devices are on f.lux software which removes the blue colors from my computer screen to help the body unwind before bed. I try to minimize the use of electronic devices in general.

I continue the purification with a warm oil self-body massage and a steaming hot shower (with the intention to let go of the day). If I have been excessively stimulated, I add a foot bath (lavender essential oil and salt), followed by a Kansa bowl massage with coconut oil or ghee (kansa bowl is perfect to balance the air element and stimulate reflexology points which relax the organs). In the case of too much thinking and obsession, I use karna purana (warm oil dropped into the ears). Then, I focus on my cooking rituals. It’s important that I arrive in the kitchen with a quiet and focused mind.

I do slow-paced yoga rituals to unwind and relax. They may be restorative postures, pranayama, mudra, chanting, reading scriptures… anything that feels right to help digest the impressions of the day. It’s really important to do activities that will help that process physically, physiologically, emotionally and spiritually. This is the time to consciously self-connect. Kapha is all about forgiving, loving and nurturing, so I will practice anything that goes in that sense for myself and for my loved ones.

Q. Do you follow any night time ‘food rules’ for good health?

I love finishing my last meal before 6pm so the body has 3 – 4 hours to digest before the next big regeneration. This gives more space and time for the body to focus on its big daily cleansing during sleep.

If I have to eat later, I keep my meals even more light (soups, kitchari, and manda rice gruel are perfect, as they are great digestives and very easy to assimilate). My evening meals are mostly vegan as Kapha dosha is not very good with dairy and animal products. I make an exception if I have a particular healing that requires milk. I finish with a digestive tea, with ginger, fennel, cinnamon or saffron, with or without vegan milks. My favorite chai includes nutmeg + vegan milk + coconut sugar, which is very grounding and helps fight insomnia.

Q. What home remedies do you use for a good night’s sleep?

I choose remedies according to my body needs and the imbalances I observe.

As I am vata dosha, I tend to be constipated and love using a Triphala decoction before bed. I also love amla juice to help for purification and rejuvenation (rasayana) of the body. I do also a shatavari sweet milk decoction; I boil Shatavari roots in a rice milk, add some sugar, freshly grated nutmeg and lastly some ghee. It’s delicious, very nourishing, it builds the immune systems, the vitality (Ojas), and it’s excellent for the female reproductive system.

I also try connecting with the stars and the moon to nurture my feminine side. I finish with my meditation (or yoga nidra) practice right before bed which help me to have a peaceful night’s sleep.

About Dee Leborgne

Dee Leborgne is a certified massage therapist and lifestyle consultant in Ayurveda, helping people balance their body and mind. Also a qualified yoga teacher, Dee uses these ancient sciences to assist her clients’ draw on their own inner resources and experience self healing.

Gauri Junnarkar Shares Her Bedtime Routine

Gauri Junnarkar
Texas based Ayurvedic practitioner and dietician Gauri Junnarkar.

Q. What do you do in the evening to unwind before bed?

Evening is the time to unwind mind and body. After a day of hard work mentally and physically, I love to do a gentle abhyanga with a mixture of coconut and sesame seed oil. I may add a few drops of lavender essential oil for better relaxation. Warm oil abhyanga is considered very soothing, relaxing and the best thing to balance vata in Ayurveda. This is followed by a quick shower.

Once I am ready to settle in for the night I follow a quick bedtime routine. I take a few drops of Brahmi and Shankhapushpi oil, warm it in the palm of my hand and gently massage it on my head in circular motions. Next I put 1-2 drops of sesame seed oil in each ear. This is called Karna Puran in Ayurveda. This is said to balance vata in the ears. After that I just meditate for a few minutes and then fall asleep.

Q. Do you follow any nighttime ‘food rules’ for good health?

I do follow a few Ayurvedic food rules to keep my agni working properly. This has helped my digestion especially at nighttime. I eat light meals by 7-7:30pm maximum. Meals are usually Dal rice and a cooked vegetable or a soupy khichari with ½ teaspoon of ghee. I try to avoid eating any yogurt, meats like chicken or fish and raw vegetables in the evening. Evening meals are usually my lightest. I also try to sip on warm water or fennel tea with meals.

Q. What home remedies do you use for a good night’s sleep?

Gentle head massage with a few drops of Brahmi and Shankhapushpi oil works great for my sleep schedule. Sometime I make warm golden turmeric milk with a little saffron added and have that before going to bed. Lastly I may dab a few drops of lavender essential oil on my forehead and do a gentle forehead massage. That does the trick and I fall asleep within no time.

About Gauri Junnarkar

Gauri Junnarkar, MS, RD, LD, CDE, LMT, BAMS is the founder of AyurNutrition, an integrative wellness practice in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX. Gauri Junnarkar is a highly accomplished Registered Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Ayurveda Practitioner, Panchakarma Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Ayurveda from the University of Mumbai. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.
Maria Carbonell
Austin, TX based Ayurvedic practitioner, energy healer and aromatherapist Maria Carbonell.

Maria Carbonell Shares Her Bedtime Routine

Q. What do you do in the evening to unwind before bed?

I’m in bed usually by 9pm in the winter and 10pm in the summer, like clockwork. The hours leading up to bed really inform how my sleep quality will be. Honestly, I’ve always been diligent about my sleep and some have called me a party pooper but this vata gal needs a good sleep to function well the next day. My 5 senses really worked hard for me during the day so the two hours leading up to sleep time is when I start slowing down the senses.

The goal for me is to remove the electronic buzz of the day so I can hear the hum of the universe. I do my daily accounting of the day and make sure all unfinished business gets done and that I’m satisfied with my day. I unplug from the computer, dim the lights, then do restorative yoga postures and stretches. I palm inhale frankincense and lavender and begin my spiritual practice.

I throw out the mental garbage and clear my consciousness of any negative emotions and impressions of the day with meditation. Right before pranayam I place a few drops of nasya oil in each nostril. I’m then ready to meditate with mudra and mantra. I sometimes lay down in shavasana and place a gemstone on my ajna third eye chakra. This completely calms me if my mind has been overly active during the day. This practice takes about 35 minutes.

Two days a week I prepare warm milk with turmeric and then I get into bed to read a few pages of spiritual text or Rumi’s poetry. The last 5-10 minutes before I slumber off is spent dreaming and visioning. This whole routine nourishes me and my nervous system.

Q. Do you follow any nighttime ‘food rules’ for good health?

As a vata/kapha body type I have to make sure that what I eat at night will allow me proper sleep and not aggravate my kapha dosha and make me feel heavy right before bed. I follow the ‘sun guideline’. As the sun goes down the digestive fire goes down. This means a light dinner or even skipping it if I feel heavy or have eaten a large meal at lunch. We’re taught to not skip meals but dinner is one that if you had one to skip would be the one. Our body is working to burn off toxins, digest food from the day and rejuvenate in preparation for the next day’s meal.

My dinner consists of small portions the size of a side plate, cooked vegetables, a small portion of protein and a little carbs. I eat to satisfy my palette until I’m satisfied and never to the point of being overstuffed. At home, I always say a prayer.

Q. What home remedies do you use for a good night’s sleep?

In addition to the warm milk with turmeric stated above, I also give myself a delicious head, face and scalp massage at least 3 times a week.

About Maria Carbonell

Maria Carbonell is a practitioner of Ayurveda (AHP), energy healer, aromatherapist, and sacred plant medicine healer. The founder of Sama Ayurveda, she is passionate about helping women harness the power of their body’s natural ability to self heal, restore balance and energy so she can thrive in her life.

Melanie Phillips Shares Her Bedtime Routine

Bedtime Routines For Adults: Inspiration For A Good Night's Sleep
Yoga teacher trainer, Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist & Energy Healer Madhuri Phillips of Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo by Michael Julien Berz.

Q. What do you do in the evening to unwind before bed?

I went through a period of insomnia for a few years after a very traumatic life event so my sleep is one of the most valuable assets in my life.

I try to finish working on the computer or being in front of screens at least an hour before going to bed so that my nervous system has a chance to unwind and adjust before sleep.

Rubbing the soles of my feet with sesame oil before bed is a non-negotiable for me as it really grounds and nourishes me and pacifies any excess vata spinning around in my head. I also like to use an essential oil diffuser in my room with lavender oil or if I’m traveling I will sprinkle a few drops onto my pillow.

Gratitude is how I end my day. I lie in bed and retrace the steps of my day in my mind and give thanks for life.

Q. Do you follow any nighttime ‘food rules’ for good health?

I’m mostly an intuitive eater and follow what my body wants. I make sure I don’t go to bed with food in my tummy but also not on empty either. I’ve found that not having enough food in the evening will aggravate vata and disturb my sleep. It’s a fine balance.

Q. What home remedies do you use for a good night’s sleep?

I don’t take anything specifically in the evening but think of my entire day as having an influence on my sleep. I take seasonally appropriate herbs according to my prakruti and vikruti and vitamin D3 almost always as I live in rainy Vancouver, BC.

About Melanie Phillips

Melanie is a yoga teacher trainer, Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist & Energy Healer. She created the Madhuri Method: 80 hr-Ayurvedic Yoga Training & the Inner Empowerment Mentorship program, both to assist souls in a practical and empowering way to know their own brilliance and experience freedom and self-love. She is the co-author of “Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices that Work.” Melanie is passionate about merging ancient wisdom with modern sensibility for transformation and healing. She firmly believes that laughter is the best medicine.

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