I touched on this a few weeks ago, but my goal this month is all about the little tweaks to make life a whole lot better. I’ve talked and talked about my morning routine, and how it’s dependent on my sleep schedule. You have to feel your best to look your best, and it’s not possible without a good night of sleep! It’s been a while since I’ve touched on the topic, so I figured I’d give a little update. You can see my last post here.
A few months ago, I’d actually accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of becoming a morning person. Yep, I did it! And honestly, it really was all it’s cracked up to be. For a few months, I was going to bed at a normal hour, getting a pretty good night of sleep, waking up extra early (sometimes even before my alarm!) and finding immense amounts of joy from having a slow-paced morning routine.
I could even see it in my skin and on my face! Beauty sleep is a real thing, my friends. My skin was clearer, I felt like I was more fresh-faced, and my dark circles didn’t seem to be as prevalent. I mean, I could actually stomach taking outfit photos without sunglasses! That, in and of itself, speaks volumes. There was a reason I always had sunglasses on in New York… Bags and dark circles for DAYS! It wasn’t pretty.
So I had this whole sleeping thing down. FINALLY! I wanted to sing from the rooftops. THEN, A lot of travel, the holidays, and tight deadlines threw my whole routine out the window, and I’m still trying to get back to where I was!
Truth be told, I’ve always been an awful sleeper. I can remember back in grade school, I’d often be too anxious to fall asleep if I had a test the next day. And after college, if something big was happening or I was worried about something at work, sleep was basically out of the question. And still as a small business owner, it’s nearly impossible for me to fall asleep without a calculated routine. Whether it’s an early flight the next day or even just an early-morning wakeup call for a meeting, I’m terrified of oversleeping and it makes falling asleep impossible. Or if I’m anxious about a project that isn’t going well or all of the things I need to get done, I simply cannot fall asleep. I can be absolutely exhausted, both mentally and physically, and still have the hardest time winding down and drifting off.
But like I said, sleep is essential to have a kick-ass day. For me to be able to perform my best in all facets of my job, I need a good night of sleep. Easier said than done, am I right? After battling my sleep issues for years, I have a whole slew of remedies and tactics that I practice daily to try to prime myself for sleep.
- I don’t sleep with my phone in my bedroom. Nope, never. I started this way back when I lived in New York. I mean, I technically lived in a studio so it was in the same room, but on the opposite side of the apartment in my kitchen. And now in Chicago, I still sleep with my phone charging in my kitchen.
I do this for a few reasons – It prevents me from getting sucked into that mindless scrolling on Instagram where you suddenly realize that you’re 73 weeks deep on your crush’s mom’s sister’s co-worker’s daughters’ feed. (Don’t act like you haven’t been there, too! Haha) It also ensures that I have to get out of my bed to turn off my alarm! #majorkey If I’m worried that I won’t hear my alarm in the morning and I have something important going on, I sleep with my bedroom door open. My apartment (while much bigger than my studio in NY!) is less than 700 sq feet so it’s really not that far away. If you’re in a bigger place, I’d recommend getting a regular ol’ alarm clock in your bedroom, but placing it on the opposite side of the room. And still keeping the phone in a different room!
- Reading before bed always helps me fall asleep! There are some nights where I feel “too tired” to open my book, but then I still end up laying there for what seems like hours. I keep my book out on my nightstand so there’s no excuse but to read at least a few pages and prime myself for sleep. I don’t know what the scientifics are behind this, but personally, I think reading takes my mind off of whatever is stressing me out, relaxes me a bit, and allows me to fall asleep easier. If you’re not a book reader, keep a newspaper or magazine on your nightstand instead.
- I keep an eye mask in my nightstand drawer for those nights where I have to force myself to close my eyes. Remember how your mom used to always tell you to “just close your eyes” when you claimed you couldn’t fall asleep? It’s the truth, but it’s easier said than done.
- I’ve read a lot about baths being an ideal before-bedtime activity… Something about your body temperature dipping down after you get out of the water that makes your body ready for a snooze. I use a lavender bubble bath for even more relaxation! (I also love these bath salts!)
- I’ve also read that the ideal temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 60-67 degrees. I’m always cold, so I only put the thermostat at 67, I can’t bring myself to dip lower than that.
- Exercise = Exhaustion. You know how people try to wear kids out before a flight so they sleep? Same thing applies here. I exercise for a whole heck of a lot of reasons, but I’ve found that I’m so much more anxious and have too much energy at night when I don’t workout.
- My friend, Julia, recommended yoga, but I haven’t given it a go yet. You can read all about the bedtime sequence here! I have been foam rolling before bed, though, because apparently that’s when a lot of lactic acid can build up in your muscles and cause soreness. It doesn’t necessarily help my sleep, but it’s been a part of the routine.
- I’m also a firm believer in your environment affecting your sleep. I researched a lot about bedroom feng shui when I was decorating mine, for both layout and color scheme. I went with tones of white, cream, and blush pink and I love how my bedroom feels so serene. I’m not a big TV watcher so I don’t have a TV in my room, but even if I was, I don’t think I’d allow it in the bedroom. I don’t allow myself to work from my bed, either. Once in a blue moon, I’ll bring my laptop into bed after I wake up on the weekends, but that’s rare. I try to create a mindset that if I’m in my bed, it’s to sleep. No other distractions besides reading!
- I’ve also played around with aromatherapy. I run my humidifier pretty much 24/7 in the winter and I read in the manual that you can add a few drops of oil to the water. (I have the Venta Air Washer, they’re based here in Chicago, but made in Germany!) My water tank lasts about 24 hours, and it’s on the schedule of running out of water usually around 11pm. So when I fill it up, I add a few drops of Aveda’s Stress Fix Oil to the water and move it into my room for when I sleep. (I shift it outside of my bedroom door in the morning so it’s out in my living room/work space.)
- Sometimes you just need a little extra help, am I right? If I have an important day ahead and can’t risk a crappy night of sleep beforehand, I reach for ZzzQuil. It’s by the makers of Vicks NyQuil so they’ve got sleeping down pat. But the ZzzQuil formula doesn’t have any added extras to help fight cold symptoms, it’s just focused on sleep! It took me a little bit to experiment what dosage worked best for my body… The dosage is two pills, but I recommend starting by just taking 1 (and taking it one-two hours before bed!) to see how it affects you.
I will say that I was a bit nervous to try ZzzQuil at first. Being the stubborn and overtly-independent person that I am, I don’t like having to rely on something else. You know what I mean? But after trying everything under the sun (or under the moon in this case), I realized that it’s okay to get a little bit of help from time to time. It’s actually non-habit forming, which made me feel a lot better, too! When I figured out the right dosage for me (just one pill an hour before bed) I fell asleep without worry, slept soundly for 7 hours, and was able to jump right into my day. It was perfect!
Want to try for yourself? Find a coupon here!
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