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I do not find that my daily life is “routine laden.” In fact, the thought that I could use more discipline shimmies into my mind every now and then.
But there are two things I do before bed every single night, that I credit for upholding my ability to drift off within a few minutes of my head hitting the pillow. What is this witchcraft?
Yep, water–-hot water to be exact.
When the day’s duties are done—no dishes to wash, no clothes to dry—I make myself a hot cup of tea. Usually I will reach for lavender or chamomile (both have calming properties), but sometimes I skip the tea altogether and simply drink hot water.
With my tea consumed and my belly full and warm, I head upstairs for a hot shower. Within minutes of stepping out of the steaming bathroom, I am in bed and on the verge of falling asleep.
I’ve sworn by these two bedtime activities for years, but it was only recently that I came across the information as to why they are effective.
Ingesting hot tea and standing under hot water both create heat in the body, raising the internal temperature. When the body notices this rise, and we move into a cooler climate (i.e. the bedroom), it will attempt to regulate and body temperature will begin to drop.
As body temperature becomes lower, metabolic activity decreases—including a slower heartbeat, breath and digestion. This action of decelerating triggers a drowsy feeling that—if we are aware of it and choose to honor it—will more often than not, result in a timely descent into sleep.
Now, being mindful during the process is nearly just as important as the process itself. It is important to realize that no matter how warm the shower, staring at a phone’s screen during or for ten minutes afterward will hinder sleepiness.
Next time counting sheep doesn’t quite cut it, skip your melatonin tablets, and opt for a hot shower instead.
Author: Jenna Meyer
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina