Venetia Falconer, presenter and creator of Talking Tastebuds, shares her daily evening routine that helps her to get the best night’s sleep.
As I approach the end of my twenties, I’ve taken the necessary steps to get my sh*t together when it comes to my mental health. What I’m discovering – and I’m only sorry this doesn’t involve something more complex – is that in order to get said sh*t together for my mental health, I need sleep. And not just any kind of sleep. A good sleep. The best kind of sleep. Top of the range, 5 star rated, tell all your friends about it, SLEEP.
You’ll probably already know that I’m big into my morning routine, but that too stems from a great night’s sleep. Before we crack on with the evening routine, I wanted to share some mic-drop rules about sleep.
RULES TO LIVE BY FOR THE BEST SLEEP OF YOUR LIFE:
1. Wake up and go to bed at the same time each night. Even on weekends – this may involve losing a portion of your social life, for which I am genuinely sorry. My advice: send said friends this article and host a Slumber Party 🙂
2. Limit your caffeine intake to mornings only.
3. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol will not help you sleep. Camomile tea will. (I’m finding myself annoying at this point, too).
4. Turn off your phone at least one hour before bed, and don’t sleep with it. Bedrooms are for lots of enjoyable activities, but losing yourself in the Scroll Hole, is not one of them.
If you’re still here and haven’t decided that I’m a fun dementor, let’s get cracking with the evening routine…
SHUT IT DOWN
To ensure I have enough time to unwind from the day, I accept defeat at 6pm and switch off my laptop and emails. To close a few tabs in my brain, I’ll opt for a walk to clear my head, or head to a yoga class.
SET THE MOOD
When I get back from a little exercise, I like to light some candles or burn some sage to reset the energy in my space. This is especially helpful if I’ve been working from home.
Not only is the process of cooking a homemade dinner calming, the aromas help enliven your tastebuds, meaning you’re more likely to take in more nutrition from the meal. For a good night’s sleep, I like to eat foods that I know agree with my body, which is usually something like stir fried vegetables with tempeh and basmati rice.
Once I’ve snapped a video of my food, it’s time for my phone to be switched off. If we eat whilst looking at our phones, the blue light can interrupt our digestion. What’s more, our meal seems to be over faster than we’ve sat down. Eating mindfully is a huge focus of mine – and something that is easier to preach that put into practice! I tuck my phone away for the night in a cupboard in my living room and there it will stay.
SLEEPY TEA + DESSERT
Once I’ve eaten supper, I like to make a pot of herbal tea. My favourites are Pukka’s Night Time tea and Yogi’s Choco tea. Now, I know cacao is a stimulant, but a day without chocolate for me is a day I’d rather not be a part of, so I’ll always have some squares of dark chocolate. It’s also a source of magnesium, so can be said to help our bodies relax.
NETFLIX WITHOUT THE BINGE
I’m not one to deny myself something as enjoyable as a good series, but the key here is to not watch more than one episode. Be strict with yourself! The show will be there tomorrow, and like everything in life, I prefer to take my time with the things I enjoy, and try to savour them. Binging a show is not worth missing out on the best sleep of your life!
I like to take Form Nutrition’s ZZZZs tablets. There’s 5HTP in there to increase serotonin levels, amino acids to relieve any muscle pain and and magnesium and zinc, which are helpful for sleep.
Rituals are supposed to be relaxing, so this is not the time for a cold shower (save that for your morning routine). I’ll have a warm shower to help unwind. I also love a hot bath with epsom salts and lavender oil, but don’t make it a regular habit.
I’ll also take the time to cleanse my face. I keep my skincare regime super low-key. My current routine is By Sarah’s Green Clay cleanser, massaged onto face and neck and then removed with a hot muslin cloth, followed by Botanics’ Facial Oil.
If I’m still feeling a little wired, I’ll go through some (very) light stretches on my bedroom floor or take about 20 deep breaths with my legs up against the wall. At this point I’ll open the window a crack, because I firmly believe we should have fresh air circulating around the space where we sleep at night.
REPLAY YOUR DAY
Silently go through your day in your mind and think of 3 moments that made you feel grateful. Just the action of re-playing will calm your mind.
Your phone is off, so there are zero opportunities to find yourself in the social media vortex, meaning this is the ideal time to read. I like to lose myself in a few pages of a good book, next to my Lumie clock, which sends me off to a gradual sunset.
I was resistant to sleeping naked for so long, but your body temperature is an essential part of your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s ‘clock’ for sleep. Cooling down tells your body that it’s time to nod off, so being naked can help you fall asleep faster. It also improves your overall sleep quality, because you’ll be closer to the optimum bedroom temp (between 15 to 19°C).
Sleep well! (and keep that phone off).
For more advice on getting a great night’s sleep, read our How to Sleep Better – Tips from a Sleep Expert
Snooze in style in the best ethical pyjamas and sleepwear.
After the best night’s sleep, read Venetia Falconer’s insights into the power of a morning routine.