The Unusual Ritual Jessica Sepel Swears By to Wind Down Before Bed
Welcome to Bedtime Stories, an interview series where we ask inspiring individuals to share their nighttime routine and sleep secrets – from the beauty products they can’t live without to the tricks they swear by when they’re too tired to function (no coffee needed). For this instalment, founder of JSHealth and JSHealth Vitamins, Jessica Sepel, shares the strict bedtime routine she follows for perfect sleep, night after night.
Health is more than just a number on a scale or nutrition label for Jessica Sepel. But this wasn't always the case – once suffering from anxiety and chronic dieting, Jessica found herself constantly disconnected from her mind, body and soul.
It has been challenging, but through continued self-care over recent years, the clinical nutritionist and founder of JSHealth Vitamins has implemented balance, kindness and moderation in all aspects of her life. One of the most important lessons she's learnt is that sleep has a profound effect on all aspects of your overall health, so the importance of a structured nighttime routine should be key. In fact, she now calls her bedtime routine her "most committed part of the day". While strict, the bedtime rituals she swears by are also incredibly simple to follow.
Here, Bed Threads Journal sat down with the nutritionist where she reveals the strict 'Sleepy Routine' that helps her wake up feeling refreshed, including an unusual trick for calming down the body's nervous system.
Hi Jessica! Welcome to Bedtime Stories. Can you walk us through your bedtime routine?
My bedtime ritual is probably my most committed part of the day, which I call my ‘Sleepy Routine.’
Anyone who knows me knows I am incredibly dedicated to my nighttime routine, because it has profoundly changed the way I sleep and how I feel when I wake up.
At around 8.30-9pm, I have a very strict boundary where I switch off from all social media and emails. I know that there are some busy mums and workers out there that need to work in the evening, so simply find a time that works for you and stick to it. Ultimately, the trick is to then commit to it. I take it so seriously that I even delete the apps and re-download them in the morning, which completely removes the temptation to cheat and check anything.
At this time, I run an epsom salt and lavender oil bath, which I soak in while listening to a podcast or read a book. Following this I make a chamomile apple tea with manuka honey. I then put my legs up against the wall for 10 minutes and take deep belly breaths. This practice is incredibly powerful for calming down the nervous system and it truly helps me to fall asleep faster. I then head to bed and watch some TV before switching off for sleep. I always pop 1-2 JSHealth PM+ vitamins about 30 minutes before bed, which contain my favourite herbs and nutrients for a deep sleep.
When I follow this evening routine, I wake up so refreshed and again do not allow myself to check my phone (especially social media) until 30 minutes after I have woken up.
What sleep or beauty products do you swear by that you won’t go a night without?
I believe that simply having a good night’s sleep is the best natural health and beauty trick around. The products I can’t live without are my bath ingredients (epsom salts and lavender oil), plus the JSHealth PM+ tablets and high strength Magnesium+ formula.
Firstly, if you’re having trouble drifting off, don’t stress about it. It’s important not to get stuck in a cycle of feeling panicked about sleeping, as this will just make it harder.
Instead, focus your attention on breathing deeply from the belly and calming the mind. I would recommend using my favourite method of placing your legs up the wall for 10 minutes to really assist your body and nervous system in switching into a parasympathetic (relaxed) state conducive to rest and sleep.
Again, our PM+ formula is truly incredible for calming the mind and supporting quality sleep. If I need to, I’ll take another to fall asleep or in the middle of the night if I wake up and don’t nod off again easily.
What time does your alarm go off in the morning?
Each morning I’ll wake up around 7.30am as I need my eight hours of sleep each night. I continue my technology ban from the evening – so no checking of social media, texts or emails – until after I’ve been awake for at least 30-40 minutes and practiced my wholesome morning routine.
I love to start my day with a 30-minute workout, followed by a piccolo coffee, a 10-minute meditation practice and then I get ready for work. I usually eat breakfast once I get to the office.
What are three things (besides coffee) that help when you’re too tired to function?
I do make sure I enjoy just one coffee a day before 10am as this helps keep my energy stable through the day and ensures the caffeine doesn’t interrupt my sleep come that evening. I have been doing this for 10 years and it’s a game-changer, rather than relying on multiple cups, even if you’re tired.
Besides the little energy boost I get from my piccolo, I swear by a nourishing and satiating breakfast that contains protein, fibre and good fats to naturally support energy levels. This is important for blood sugar control and helps to combat fatigue.
For a pick-me-up during the work day, a walk around the block in fresh air is fantastic for feeling more alert and refreshed mentally.
Lastly, let yourself rest if you truly need to. It’s so important to not push yourself if you’re already feeling exhausted, as you will burnout. Prioritise self-care and rest to rejuvenate your body and mind.
What do you normally eat for breakfast to kick start your day?
I’ll fuel my body with the JSHealth Power Protein Smoothie or my current obsession is wholesome seed toast topped with cheddar cheese and tomato.