A one hour de-stressing routine for deep sleep
I want to feel good, you want to feel good. But when we are constantly stressed from the state of the world, our crazy family, or just a demanding job, it can be hard to get the sleep we need to heal, reset and reinvigorate that youthful glow. But what if sleep doesn’t show its shadowy self when you put your head on the pillow?
When you are feeling burnt out and can’t come down from a stress induced cortisol high, what do you do?
Enter Goddess Hour
Shroud yourself in candle light, gentle music and aromatic scents (think lavender!) and end your day in a magical relaxed state priming you for your day and life ahead! We pay so much attention to our morning routine, now is time to love ourselves through our evening routine ❤
Goddess Hour Preparation
- Eat 3 hours before bed: This will ensure enough time and energy to digest without your body rumbling and tumbling as you try and fall asleep.
- Start winding down by 9pm: Being in bed by 10pm is essential as it is the time when you can correctly match up with the circadian rhythm of the earth. Being in alignment will help you with deeper sleep, cell rejuvenation and hormone balance. Which means the ideal time for Goddess Hour to begin is 9pm with one full hour before you should be under your covers at 10pm!
- Set up your Goddess space: This means setting up an area where there is enough space for you to stretch on the ground and possibly set up an alter/tool space. Find all the candles you want to use and bring that to that space. More details about the tools will be listed below.
- Turn off all lights 5 min. before beginning: The goal is that once you enter your beautiful candle lit space, you not once expose your eyes to light bulbs, phones or tv/iPads. This will ensure that you are ushered from a soft warm meditative state right into bed, without stimulation. The goal is not to let your body think it is day time. Dave Asprey discusses this at length in a chapter dedicated to deep sleep in his book: Super Human.
Goddess Hour Begins!
The goal of goddess hour is to give yourself enough space to roll around deep in thought and have your mind and body relaxed at the end of it. You don’t need to do all the activities, think of them as a bank you can pull from when you need it.
How I set up: I use the space in my bedroom where there is plenty of room and begin to light candles and take out my tools. I make sure there is no outside light coming in and then I grab my phone, set an alarm for tomorrow and put on a Spotify play list like this or this. Then I turn my phone over and go back to my candle lit space. I now know I have the full hour to do anything I like without distraction from lights or gadgets.
Stretching: Stress can really manifest itself in tight muscles. While you will have a unique set of tensions, one of my favorite positions is pigeon pose. This helps stretch the hip flexor and PSOAS which is the main muscle that connects your upper half to your lower half. Relieving any pressure in that realm will help relax your legs, back, groin and side muscles. Feel free to combine this with self massages like a foot massage, neck massage or lymphatic drainage massage.
- Tools to help: Foam roller (back or legs), PSO-rite (helps relieve pressure). Check out this website to learn more about muscle fascia stretch techniques and stress.
Gua Sha (gwah-shah): The movements of gua sha create relaxation and ease facial tensions as well as add to a natural youthful contoured appearance (yay!) Great if you hold any tension in your face or grind your teeth at night. Helps to relax the jaw, loosen cheek knots and sooth the temples. Use a nickle dollop of oil, rub softly on face, neck and check. Then begin to use the gua sha tool in soft scraping motions along the face.
- Tools to help: Watch this tutorial so you know you are doing the motions accurately. Purchase this rose quartz tool and use a light oil to apply to the face for easy gliding such as: Grape seed oil or apricot oil.
Lotions and essentials oils: Adding essential oils or lotions following a bath is perfect for getting centered and hydrated right before bed. For help with essential oils and their unique purposes, check out this Quick Reference Guide booklet. But the TLDR is, lavender is still the perfect scent for relaxation.
Free Flow writing: While you are meditating or stretching have the journal nearby to write down things that rise up. Don’t worry about perfect prose, jot it down, draw it, scratch it. Whatever it is, release it and move on.
Prompts: If you want to have a more mentally active goddess hour to hone in some introspection, there are some great prompts in The Seasonal Soul as well as the book The Rituals. Or without purchasing anything, get started right away using this great journal prompt writing website I came across!
Tarot: If you are into astrology or tarot cards, this step is for you! I really love the Threads of Fate tarot deck, but buy ones that feel you! Threads of Fate also has a great write up on how to do your own personal intention reading on their blog. However you want to play it, use the tarot card as a prompting mechanism for journaling.
Sometimes journaling can re-open and stimulate your mind before bed. I would recommend not actively going in to do long form writing until you start with some of the other tactics mentioned first.
Brain dumps: Having paper around is perfect when you are super stressed and just need to organize your thoughts (think: to do list, action items to help a problem, solution forming). Importantly during Goddess Hour, do not write these thoughts down on a computer or phone. It’s important to make the ritual separate and to stay away from electronics.
Read a page or two: Reading a page or two from a favorite book right before bed is definitely Goddess Hour worthy! You may need to lean a little closer to the candle to get the direct light, but it is worth it and feels medieval! Here are a few I keep by my side: The Rituals, Embers, Radical Compassion, Fast this Way and The Seasonal Soul.
I recently began reading The Court of Thorn and Roses series for fun and I never felt more de-stressed than reading about a fairy world in my whole life. Find a sassy and frivolous story you can dive into ❤
Set aside 5–10 min. of Meditation
Add magic to your meditation: Envision the thing that lights you up inside. What is magical in your life? What is something magical you want to see happen? Is it swimming with the sun on your face or maybe it is laughing with friends and staying out all night. Try this variation on meditation where you focus on what is magical in your life and gaze deeply into the candle flames. Watch the flames flicker as you are drawn in deeper to your soul.
Check out George Ramsay on Instagram for some deep breathing techniques that you can pair with your meditation. Ideal for calming your nervous system before bed.
Variation on Goddess Hour
The Bath Combo: Change up your structure of how you want to utilize this quiet time and add in a bath. You could do a 45 min. bath with epsom salts, candles and a good book, followed by a light 15 min. Goddess Hour. That 15min. before bed can be used for whatever your body is calling for: stretching, journaling, meditating etc. Trust yourself and what you need!
And to accompany Goddess Hour, here are few things that are my go to:
1. Collagen Tea: Collagen with magnesium by Bulletproof. I am literally out in minutes every night that I drink this hot beverage before bed!
3. DIY Acupuncture: Cosma Seeds for at home acupuncture that has a pressure point configuration that is put onto your ears for deep sleep.
4. Sleepy Time Drops: Valerian root tincture- Add droplets to water 30 min. before bed.
5. Tea! Chamomile, rooibos, kava or peppermint are yummy de-caffeinated teas that can accompany your Goddess Hour!
I am not a professional and these are merely things I have personally tried and loved. Be sure to do further research and contact your doctor should you have questions or want to experiment!
As a health and wellness enthusiast there are many sources I have dove into over the years from which my ideas for Goddess Hour have developed. Take a look below for further reading on the topic of health, wellness and self help. Enjoy!
The Tao of Sex and Longevity, Goddesses Never Age, Super Human, The Rituals, Personality Isn’t Permanent, Essential Oil Reference Guide, An Atlas of Natural Beauty, The Seasonal Soul, Embers, The Power of Now.
I hope this routine calms your nervous system and sets you up for success for a deep and restorative night sleep. While this is not an exhaustive example of all the things you can be doing to sleep deeply, it is my take on a fun ceremony to get re-centered and enter sleep from a zen place. I hope sharing this with you inspires you and all your deep sleeps to come.