Evening Ceremonies for Joy and Great Sleep
Temple bells die out
the fragrant blossoms remain
a perfect evening.
So your busy day is over. You’re home. Time to make dinner – chop vegetables, steam rice, cook pasta, make a soup. Enjoy the evening. Read to the kids. Walk the dogs. Set Mr. Coffee to brew for tomorrow morning.
After your long, full day is complete, how will you unwind before your next big adventure, sleep?
Would you like to honor and savor the day’s end, wind down and prepare for a good night’s rest?
A calming transition to unhook from all the demands of your day and graciously approach the temple of sleep may be most welcome.
Shut Off Your Brain?
Sleep studies show that it can be hard to shut off our brains at night. An evening ritual can be a phenomenal passport to help you create a restful transition and shift out of the busyness of your day.
Did you know that sixty to seventy million Americans have a sleep problem? So this means roughly 22% of Americans have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Doctor Stephanie Silberman, sleep specialist, says we need to separate our day from our nighttime by creating a presleep ritual. She suggests simple things like doing relaxation exercises, listening to calming music or taking a warm bath.
Let Nature Soothe You
A great way to unhook from all that may still be cooking inside of you is to play some nature music. There are many great apps available to you on the App Store.
What sound do you find most relaxing? Rain, birdsong, ocean waves, whale songs? Choose whatever is soothing to you. These sounds from nature help turn off your busy daytime thoughts and connect you back into source.
One of the best apps out there is NatureSpace Holographic Audio – and it’s free. Their cuts include Infinite Shoreline, Riverwind Dreaming and The Indigo Raindrop.
TaoMix is also a great nature music app that many people regularly use as their nightime music to fall asleep. With Tao you can program a mix of sounds that you find ultimately relaxing.
These apps are fully programmable for length of play, and they shut themselves off. Check it out.
I love what Mina Murray says about the journaling process – that it’s like whispering to your self and listening at the same time. Journaling is a comfort and medicine for the soul.
It takes us on a voyage into our interiors where we hold the memories of our day’s discoveries, disappointments and dreams. William Wordsworth calls this the breathings of the heart.
Journaling at night is a great release and helps you sort out the things of the day. It’s an outstanding evening ceremony of inspiration. You can use a pad of paper, a bound journal or the Notes App on your phone.
One of the most powerful journaling processes that will help you create a completion at day’s end is Gratitude Journaling. Think of three things you are grateful for this day. Make a simple list. One, two, three.
If you feel inspired to write about one of them, please do. But all you have to do is just record the three things.
Free Write Journaling
Another potent nightime journaling ritual involves setting a timer for three minutes. Put your pen to paper and write. This is free writing. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation.
Just write for three minutes about your day. What you liked about your day. What you detested. What you’ll do better next time. A success you had today.
You have to try it to believe it! Watch out. You may get hooked like many of us are.
Evening Ceremony Cheat Sheet
I used to read fantastic thrillers at night before going to sleep – or trying to sleep. James Patterson, P.D. James, Nevada Barr, Sue Grafton. These stories got me more keyed up.
I found I needed to relax, not be Sherlock Holmes before sleep. So much happens in the day that can just remain stuck inside, still swirling around like a butter churner.
I didn’t even know I needed a way to put things to rest before sleeping – until I learned this extraordinary process from my coach, John Assaraf.
This is from a process he calls Daily Neuro Cheat Sheet.
Doing this practice only takes four minutes, but you will love these four minutes.
1. Think of three things that went really well today. Perhaps you were praised at work. Or your puppy finally listened to the command “come!” Or your spouse thanked you with roses. Or you got a new client. Or you received money you weren’t expecting.
2. Let yourself feel intense gratitude for each of these good things now. Really elevate your emotions about each one. Celebrate your wins. It is deeply satisfying to do this.
You’ll love doing this Neuro practice as the benefits are tremendous. You’ll slip into sleep aware of all the good in your life and be comforted by it.
Moving to Sleep
Meditation is a powerful ceremony of breathing and releasing the day, moving into the quiet stillness of evening.
You can sit in the lotus position, as pictured here, or you can sit up in bed. Keep it simple and easy. Close your eyes for three minutes. Still your mind as best you can and just breathe in and out. In and out. The day is done. Try to just let it go.