Calm your mind for sleep with this candle ritual
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
To calm your mind before bedtime so as to have a better chance of a good night’s sleep, a little candle ritual can be helpful.
Calm your mind for sleep with this candle ritual To calm your mind before bedtime so as to have a better chance of a good night’s sleep, a little candle ritual can be helpful.
Including candles in your calm-down routine can enhance the whole relaxation experience as the act of lighting a candle is like a mini ritual in itself.
Not only can the right relaxing scent help you calm both your body and mind, but the simple act of gazing at a flame taps into a primal part of your being.
Humans have used fire for millennia. The act of gathering around a hearth or a bonfire not only comforts us but relaxes us on a deep level – and the same goes for a tiny flickering candle flame. Calm your mind before going to bed with our simple candle ritual. Find the right calming candle
There are hundreds of candle scents but some are most definitely proven to be more relaxing than others. Lavender is probably the most popular and well-known essential oil for sleep. A study done by researchers at Wesleyan University in Connecticut (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16298774/ ) found that lavender essential oil increased stage 2 (light) sleep while decreasing the amount of time it took to fall asleep in women.
Other popular relaxation scents for better sleep include sweet marjoram, chamomile, sandalwood, jasmine, rose, geranium, ylang-ylang, cedarwood, bergamot and vanilla. Individual preference will play a huge part though in deciding which scent you find most relaxing. 1) Create a calm space Ideally you want to create a space where you can do your ritual every night, so it’s always there and doesn't rely on your tidying away first. You could choose a corner of your bedroom or a shelf. You could place a few choice pieces in your ‘candle corner’ such as a nature image that reflects calmness and tranquility, some beautiful crystals if you’re drawn to those, an image of your family (that is, as long as they evoke a sense of calm in you!). An air-purifying plant or two would also be good, such as a peace lily. Place your candle pride of place in the centre of the space, perhaps on a small round mirror to reflect even more of the light. 2) Take some calming breaths Before lighting your candle, place your hands on your heart, or cross your arms and place each hand on opposite arms, giving yourself a little hug. Close your eyes, then take five deep breaths in through your nose and exhale though your mouth. 3) Light your candle Open your eyes, and now light your candle, slowly and carefully (make sure the match is fully extinguished before placing it down). Soften your gaze and look gently at the flickering flame. Continue to breathe slowly. Spend up to five minutes – longer if you feel you want to – sitting in a comfortable position, gazing softly at the candle, breathing calmly and deeply. Focus on a longer, slower exhalation through your lips. 4) Calm your mind by releasing thoughts Your mind will natural wander all over the place to begin with, but the more you practice this mindful candle ritual, the more you’ll be able to stay present in the moment. It’s not about trying to become a master meditator, but simply about taking time out for you, to honour your being and to slow down what can often be a rush of thoughts and an overly stressed body. When thoughts come in, simply notice them and then allow them to drift away. Using the candle flame is a great anchor for any type of mindfulness – it helps draw you back to the intention of your practice. The whole point, through, is to slow down in both body and mind, which is great for reducing the stress hormone cortisol. Busy lives can lead to overly stressed bodies and minds, which leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels. Anything you can to do calm your mind, especially before bed, will help you not only fall asleep faster but also stay asleep. 5) Extinguish the flame Once you’ve spent enough time reflecting on your candle flame and letting your thoughts drift away, extinguish the flame and make sure the wick is completely out before heading to bed (read more on how best to extinguish a flame to avoid unnecessary smoke – especially important if you’re about to sleep). 6) Calm down further with a full body scan
Once you’re tucked up in bed, try this body scan / relaxation routine:
Starting from your head, screw up your face including eyes, lips and cheeks. Clench your jaw. Do this for a few seconds then release fully. * Tense your neck and shoulders – shrugging them up to your ears. Hold for three seconds then fully relax down. *Tense your chest and arms, making clenched fists. Squeeze as tightly as you can, then release and relax. *Pull in and tighten up your tummy as much as you can – hold for a few seconds then release. *Squeeze and clench tight your bum muscles then release. *Tighten up your thighs – hold the squeeze for a three seconds then relax fully. *Straighten your knees and tighten your calves – hold for three then release. *Screw up your feet and toes for a few seconds then release. The above helps release all remaining tension from your body – just be careful not to overdo the leg ones and get cramp! Hopefully if you follow this simple candle ritual each evening you’ll be able to calm your mind before sleeping and have a much better night. Read more about why candlelight keeps you calm and is good for your nervous system. Find the best wooden wick candles that sound like a real fire!