My New Nighttime Routine With Calm

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I think it’s safe to say that we all know the importance of self-care. The notion that self-care is an act of selfishness is now gone (thank goodness!) and we have realized that it’s something to be practiced every day; a true necessity to living a healthy life. Self-care can take on so many different forms: exercise, cooking nutritious meals, manicures/pedicures, face masks (a personal favourite of mine), curling up with a good book, etc. But I think one self-care category that we tend to forget about is sleep. It’s not as fun as cooking or doing some spa treatments but arguably it’s the most important thing we can do for our bodies and our minds. But when we all have a to-do list that’s longer than there are hours in the day, how are we supposed to shut off our minds when we do finally crawl into bed at night?

I’ve tried so many things to help me get a good night’s sleep: drinking peppermint tea, turning off electronics an hour before bed time, spraying my pillows with lavender mist, even the tried-and-true practice of counting sheep. Nothing worked (although my bed did smell like a spa so that was a nice bonus). Then I discovered the app Calm. Calm’s mission is to make the world a happier and healthier place by introducing the benefits of mindfulness. Their sleep meditations are truly amazing. You can choose from a variety of options, ranging from a simple five-minute meditation that focuses on breathing, to a 30-minute mental “body scan” designed to relieve tension in your body and prepare it for sleep. There are also “sleep stories” — a collection of bedtime stories to help you fall asleep. The one narrated by Matthew McConaughey is particularly lovely.

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As someone who suffers from anxiety, I love that the app offers other opportunities to practice mindfulness. Calm has over 100 guided meditations covering Focus, Stress, Relationships, Anxiety, Self-Esteem, Forgiveness, Eating and more. They also have a “7 days of” series that focus on a particular topic for a week (my favourites are the Happiness and Gratitude options). My routine for the past few weeks has been to do one guided meditation, followed by one sleep meditation. This combination gives me more time to unwind and I find it’s easier for me to fall asleep by the end of the sleep meditation.

I love that Calm has helped me figure out what my body and mind need in order to get a good night’s rest. And with so many options, I can really tailor my meditations to whatever my mood was that day. What nighttime routines help you fall asleep? Share your tips in the comments!