What do you do right before you go to bed? Do you diarise like Pepys or Richard Burton, complaining about politics, the prostitute who ripped your trousers (you'd think that was Burton but you would be WRONG) or writing about your wife's amazing figure (apparently ping pong kept Liz Taylor looking good...who knew?)? Maybe journalising isn't your scene, so you opt for a bedtime story? Or do you say a special nighttime mantra before you meditate, you full-on wellness queen you.
We are wrapping up our look at sleep on Life Butter Radio, and wanted to take a little look at the last words of the day, whether these are words you write, say or read.
So You're a Writer
2016 was a year of the Headspace app at Life Butter London HQ. Founder Andy Puddicombe is both the creator and voice behind the popular app (kind of like our host Kari!), and his sleep series is especially soothing. Camille Rowe finds him "dreamy" (at 12:35), so it's not just us.
In the first Headspace Sleep meditation, Andy asks you to recall what you did that day, starting from when you woke up. The exercise is only 10 minutes in total, so you aren't dwelling on any particular moment for too long, but just flowing through the rhythm of what you did from the time you awoke to the time you got into bed and started the meditation at a smooth, reasonable pace. Andy's approach is backed up by science, and the idea is that gently scrolling (again in your mind, not on your phone) through the events of the day clears your mind of anything that happened that you might be hung up on, calms you and prepares your brain to switch off. So if you are a writer, pre-bedtime might be a great time to set down a few lines aboutsq what went on during your day...provided you don't do it on a computer, or get super rant-y.
So You're a Reader
In chatting with friends, it became clear that the one thing that helps all of us shut down our brains and get ready for Zzzzs is getting involved in a story that has nothing to do with you or your day-to-day life. This is one of the reasons that so many of us like to switch off to the tunes (or explosions, these days) of a boxset, or the alt-reality of a Real Housewives franchise before bed. But we know that at least in the hour before we want to sleep, it's time to switch off the box (and our phone) and wind down. Enter the old-fashioned bedtime story.
Sales of physical books were up in 2016, and we think there's a correlation. More of us are reading fiction in our daily lives, not just on the beach or on the train. And as we've been reading our fair share of Good Night Moon as of late, we've been thinking about the bedtime stories that stay with you...the fairy tales that take you to places far away, where anything real that could possibly be stressing you out is a distant memory. One of ours growing up? The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. Unicorns, talking butterflies and handsome princes? Magic.
So You're a Talker
Honestly, we don't know anyone IRL who actually recites mantras before they go to bed, but they exist (just like unicorns, winky-face). So somewhere out there, there are people who are saying just a few last words, again & again, to clear their brain out before they go to bed. It seems like it'd work, and maybe one of these days we'll give it a try.
We do know quite a few people who pray before bed - classic. Though in theory this seems potentially stress-inducing as you are going over worries and concerns, this apparently also helps us clear these worries out of our burdened brains so that we are ready to sleep. And if you caught Episode 4 of Life Butter Radio, you'll understand why so many traditional prayers ask for God's protection and commend the soul to heaven...fear of dying in the night was very real (and sadly, in some places, still is). No matter what else you are doing before you go to sleep, sparing a thought or two for someone else and wishing them well, and maybe commending yourself to something higher seems a good way to end the day.
Many of us need a little escapism these days, so what are you reading, writing or saying before Zzz?
And if you DO need a little help, check out Episode 6 of Life Butter Radio, a special ep that was written, designed and performed to send you off to dreamland. We hope you enjoy.