07 Aug Setting the Stage – the Night Time Routine
If you pay close attention to how you feel throughout the day, it will likely become obvious that we generally rise and settle with the sun. We feel energized and active during the day, then slowly begin to feel more relaxed and sleepy as the night fades to black. This is part of a physiological process called a circadian rhythm that all living things experience. Our bodies are designed to flow with the earth’s movement, and as such we naturally want to wake and sleep with the sun. That is why our bodies produce hormones, seratonin and melatonin, that help to do exactly that.
During the day we shouldn’t have much of an issue staying alert — generally we wake up to an alarm, it is bright and loud throughout the day, and we are constantly stimulated by our phones, computers, videos, TV screens, music, people, etc. The issue isn’t turning it on – it really comes down to be able to turn it off when we get home. So many of us are into the routine of rushing home from work or the after work gym session, watching the news, listening to music, our late night shows, maybe sending those last minute emails – and we don’t realize that we’re stimulating all those active, awake hormones (seratonin) instead of the sleepy time, ‘relax now’ ones (melatonin).
This is why I advocate bringing back the night time routine, which never should have been abandoned past the toddler years to begin with. However, for adults I refer to it as ‘Setting the Stage’. It’s a term coined from the loveliest of friends, whose home I always feel super relaxed and comfortable in. As I get home from my day, regardless of what I still need to accomplish, I put on relaxed clothes, I dim the light, I turn on a diffuser or burn some incense, and I light my candles. I might do a little yoga sequence, make dinner, read for a bit, make some notes for the next day or what-have-you, but I try to avoid anything that might be overly stimulating to my brain. If I need to be on my computer or using my phone, I dim the background lighting way down. By allowing my brain and my senses to relax, I am also allowing my body, mind, muscles, nerves, and everything else to just RELAX.
This is how you set the stage to calm your adrenal system (the fight or flight, go get ‘er system), which allows for better sleep and more detoxification, which in turn creates a healthier, happier you. Sleep (and good sleep at that), is key to feeling energized and vibrant, with an amazing sense of mental clarity. Try to find a way to set the stage for yourself at home this week, even if all you can manage is one or two nights. If you have a family, maybe there are a few things you can do together, or decide on together, that everyone can enjoy. An essential oil to burn (lavender or chamomile are best for sleep), soft music to play while you chat about the day and make dinner, an hour where everyone reads independently — whatever it may be. You will likely find that you not only feel better and sleep better, but that you’ll wake up in the morning with a little extra zip in your step. It’s not about how much you sleep, but HOW you sleep that will actually make the difference, so set the stage for sleep, and feel the difference.
REGISTERED HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST R.H.N
Amber is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Since graduating, Amber has sought extensive training in homeopathics, botanicals, supplementation and a wide variety of holistic modalities. Using science-based nutrition and symptomatology, she is able to help clients to better understand their individual needs, identify their goals and in turn, live their most balanced, vibrant lives. Her foundation is to educate clients and to help them create and maintain long-term, healthy lifestyle choices. Amber has propelled her interest in the concept of living well into a passion for education, cooking, and exploring the holistic side of life.
Holistic or holism is defined as: the theory that parts of a whole are in intimate connection, such that they cannot exist independently of the whole or cannot be understood without reference to the whole, which is thus regarded as greater than the sum of its parts. Holism is often applied to mental states, language, and ecology.