Confession: I’m pretty serious about my sleep routine. I’m not a night owl and I basically loathe situations where I’m kept up past my bedtime (I swear I’m fun!). Call it a curse or a blessing, but I have a very sensitive body that will pretty much freak out if I'm not treating it well. Thus, my sleep routine is pretty much religious and sticking to it makes me feel a million times better to tackle the day so I try to stick to it as often as I can.
As Americans, it seems like we tend to under value our sleep, especially when we’re young. But, a lack of sleep can create serious brain fog, lead to weight gain and general unhappiness. Plus, our work culture can create plenty of sleep issues with late work hours and ingrained habits of checking email inboxes before bed. If any of you are still checking your email before bed, I highly recommend setting up better boundaries and expectations with your colleagues and boss. It can feel really hard, but I promise the world won’t end and you'll feel better for it.
With that said, here are some of my favorite rituals that help me fall asleep and stay asleep so I can be ready for whatever the day throws my way next.
#1 Cut off screen time one hour before bed
I mentioned this above, seriously – don’t check your email before bed! It’s an unhealthy addiction and it will only fuel your stress and make it harder to sleep. If nobody is going to die, it can wait. Plus, that insistent need to check your phone or laptop is actually hurting your ability to produce meaningful work in the long run. Another all too common addiction: Netflix. I’m totally guilty of this sometimes and when I fall asleep Netflixin’, I totally regret it the next day. I wake up more tired and I usually feel like my evening slipped away from me and I’m not ready to face the morning.
The solution? Turn off any screens at least one hour before bed, two is even better. It’s not rocket science and you’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating because it’s hard and we all forget, especially when we’re lured in and binging on House of Cards. The thing that has helped me relax the most and replace screen time is reading before bed. It makes you tired, it gives your eyes a break from a screen and it gets your mind focused on just one thing. My other solution, if I don’t feel like reading, is to listen to a podcast while laying in bed. I wrote about some of my favorite podcasts here. This also slows your brain down if you’re just doing one thing (listening). I find either of these does the trick to get my brain to chill out and get ready for bed.
#2 Get Into Clean Sheets and a Made Bed
I remember reading an article once that stated you’ll sleep better if you make your bed every day and I buy into it. Making your bed every morning sets the tone for accomplishing your day and getting into a made bed at night signals it’s time to let go and relax. Plus, cozy sheets help too! I recently got the Venice Sheet Set from Parachute Home and I’ll probably only shop through them for my bedding in the future – their duvet cover feels like a cloud. It makes getting up a little tricky sometimes, but that’s an issue for another day. Ha!
#3 When all else fails: Magnesium
If you’re having a little trouble falling asleep, my surefire trick is drinking a small glass of water mixed with a little bit of Natural Calm supplement. It’s actually just pure magnesium, which is something most people don’t get nearly enough of in their diet. In addition to helping you relax, it also aids in digestion and reduces anxiety and headaches. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s basically a miracle worker and I ALWAYS have a bottle in the house or a packet with me when I travel.
#4 Take off your makeup a couple hours before bed
By now, we all know how terrible leaving your makeup on when you go to bed is, but it’s also a pain in the butt to wait until you’re dead tired to take it off. 1. You’ll probably do a crappy job 2. It can wake you back up if you’ve got a beauty ritual of products to use. I like to take off my makeup while I’m still wide awake, at least 2-3 hours before I go to bed, that way I don’t have to worry about it and I can begin *serious* relaxation without the guilt of avoiding things like taking off my makeup. It’s a simple habit to form but it totally makes life better.
If I do each of these steps nightly, it makes such a difference in the quality of sleep I get and in turn, affects everything more positively, from my mood to my productivity. And who doesn't want that? Here's to catching more zzz's!
Do you have any sleep routines you follow that help you get a good night’s sleep?
Parachute bedding kindly provided me with the Venice Sheet set, but as always, all opinions are my own.