S1:E4 | How to effectively wind down before bed.

podcast season 1 wind down wind down time
How to effectively wind down before bed podcast

Do you know what the number one purpose of wind down time is? Do you know what makes your time before bed effective or not? Let’s find out in this episode, all about how to effectively wind down before bed.

Welcome back to the Sleep Seekers Podcast and this season on wind down time - that incredibly important hour before bed - when you get it right, can do such wonderful things for both the quantity and the quality of your sleep. 

I say ‘when you get it right’ because I believe that we should all put a little effort in to think about and design the wind down time that best works for us to make sure we get the best sleep available. 

Your wind down time is literally your runway into sleep, it sets the scene for your sleep and it prepares your body and mind for what to expect during the night.

That is happening either way.

But why would we bother putting effort into this? Surely wind down time is simple right - read a book for a bit before you go to sleep? Don’t have technology in the bedroom? Wrong!

Good, effective wind down time that actually supports good quality and quantity of sleep is more complex than this which, I think is a great thing. Because when you learn to have proper wind down time that actually works for you, not only does this improve your sleep - I also see again and again that it also supports overall mental and emotional health so improves the quality of your life in lots of ways. 

But, good wind down time doesn’t happen by accident, it happens through intentionally creating what works for you. 

No matter whether you are being intentional with your wind down time and optimising it or not, you are preparing your body and mind for the night either way, it just means that you can be negatively preparing so that bad sleep in either quantity or quality is the obvious consequence. 

It’s not a case of choosing to bother with wind down time or not - you are impacting your sleep either way. It’s just about how intentional you want to be about it and how well you want to sleep. 

The overall aim of your wind down time before going to sleep is to support the transition between the waking state and the sleeping state. This requires a shift in body chemistry and is not like flipping a switch when it suits us. A lot of the time, people do treat it as if it’s a switch - that looks like doing exactly what you want to do all evening (working, mindlessly watching stuff, staying distracted etc) and then when you decide you want to sleep, you expect your body to do exactly that, on demand. 

What makes effective wind down time though is allowing for and promoting the transition of body chemistry towards night time by allowing melatonin to become dominant in the body before sleep. 

Melatonin is a wonderful thing - it is a naturally produced hormone in the body which is part of your circadian rhythm (body clock) and regulates your sleep - wake cycle. Melatonin does not put you to sleep but it does make all the necessary signals to your body that it is time for sleep. Do you ever get the feeling in the evening that you want to slouch or put your feet up? When you start to feel relaxed and more sleepy, this is a sign that melatonin is becoming dominant. 

But, we have to make space for melatonin to become dominant through our lifestyle choices, our activities, the environmental cues we expose ourselves to and the state of our mind in the time before bed. 

It is this production of and space for melatonin that is key in effectively winding down before bed as it is this which will go a long way in determining how good our sleep will be in terms of both quantity and quality. 

A regular and consistent wind down time where you are addressing the needs of your mind and body on that day becomes very grounding and settling for your system. It feels safe and familiar which is great for for mental and emotional wellbeing but it also means you are supporting your circadian rhythm to be a rhythm. If you are always fighting against it, it has to work hard to be a rhythm … wind down time means you are working with it, which makes it easier for it to be strong and healthy, which of course is great for your sleep. 

This is why it is worth being intentional and consistent with your wind down time. 

So, there you have it. In order for your wind down time to be effective, it must be supporting the production of melatonin and making space for melatonin to be dominant, which will then ease you beautifully into sleep. 

I go into the role of melatonin and especially how to support melatonin production as well as crucially what blocks melatonin in my courses. There is the evening wind down routine course which goes into detail on how to prepare your mind and body for sleep or the sleep optimiser course which has all the same content as the wind down course + also lots on what to do if you wake in the night, what you can do in the day time to support your sleep - it’s the complete toolkit or the comprehensive sleep course if you like. You can find links to both in the show notes for this episode. 

So, much more to know about melatonin but for this episode thats it - effective wind down time is all about melatonin in essence. 

I would love to have you inside one of the courses if you would like to really dig deep into learning to effectively wind down before bed.