By definition, ritual is a sacred practice or ceremony. Rituals, contrary to general thought, are not confined to a religious context. Through repetitive acts, they elevate our presence, give us pause and balance, safety and reflection. They provide rooting in the most unsettling of times. To achieve comprehensive wellness, we believe sleep is of the utmost importance. Positioning sleep as a daily, sacred practice can elevate its quality and benefits. We sat down with Leslie McAllister, owner of modern, metaphysical lifestyle boutique, juju, and self-taught tarot reader, to discuss how to make the act of sleep, itself, a ritual.
Sleep as a Ritual Practice Starts With Intention
The difference between rituals and routines is intention. When routines (brushing your teeth or combing your hair) are born, there is a conscious effort behind them, but eventually these acts transform into daily, robotic tasks. To partake in sleep as a ritual, you must be of present mind. Limit distractions. Turn off your devices or set them in a separate room. Your focus should be directed to the practice(s) leading up to sleep. By completing these actions with meaning, you are decelerating the mind and the body follows.
Define Intentional Practices Leading Up to Sleep
Discover the fitting tools and practices to prepare you for sleep. The practices should promote peace and tranquility as they prepare the mind and body for rest. We, as individual humans, differ on what grounds us. Finding the practice(s) which allow you to be wholly present may take some trial and error. There is no defined length of time for each practice; timing is another personal preference. When introducing practices, it is important they allow you to fully focus on your ritual of sleep. Below are examples of intentional practices Leslie shared with us.
- Prepare mugwort or chamomile tea to enjoy before bed. Mugwort is a hardy plant known for its support of the female body (mugwort can balance regular menstrual cycles) and its dream-enhancing properties (*mugwort tea is not recommended for consumption during pregnancy). Chamomile tea is known for its calming benefits and ability to aid with sleep.
- Run a bath infused with lavender essential oil.
- Align crystals on your night stand. Leslie recommends scolecite, selenite and angelite. These crystals are known for their calming qualities and provide an overall sense of serenity. These attributes are beneficial when drifting to sleep.
- Place the items living on your night stand in a particular way. Consistency creates a relaxed, meditative state.
One your intentional practices leading up to sleep are defined, reprise them nightly.
Conclude With a Dream Journal
Keep a small journal beside your bed. When you wake, before reaching for a device, record your thoughts and feelings from what you remember of your dreams. Maybe you recall the sun and you felt welcomed and grounded. Maybe there was a sense of falling and you felt unsafe. These recordings are short and sweet. The object is to be conscious of the ritual, which is sleep, and close the practice with purpose. As your journal grows, you may notice patterns. These patterns can be predictors and possess healing and guiding qualities.