In my last post, I talked about 5 ways I’m taking care of myself these days, and the first one I referenced was SLEEP.
A few months ago, I wasn’t sleeping well and it was having pretty bad affects on my lifestyle. I was far less productive than I needed to be, I was cranky and irritable, I had really low patience, and my food cravings were all over the place.
On a day when I DID get a great night sleep, I was like a different person than on days when I didn’t get a good night sleep the night prior. There was such a drastic difference.
It made me realize how incredibly crucial getting good sleep is to my health and happiness in my life. I knew that if I wanted to have the output in my business and personal life that I desired, I really needed to nurture my sleep.
So, for the first time, I decided to really take the importance of my sleep into my own hands and put it high on my priority list. I was determined to figure out how to get consistent better sleep every night.
After reading about sleep and a lot of trial and error, my sleep has drastically improved. I can pretty much count on the fact that I’ll sleep really well every night and wake up feeling refreshed. I can’t even tell you how big of a game changer this has been for me!
I have so much more energy, I’m way calmer, my food cravings have balanced out (as in, I crave vegetables sometimes too! not just sugar and carbs), and I’m able to handle whatever comes my way much easier.
So, here are a few things I’ve been doing for better sleep. Below, in the comments, I’d love to hear what you do to ensure a good night sleep!
- I shut down technology way earlier: This is probably something you’ve heard before, but it really does work. I know, I was also reluctant to do this, but the truth it, it takes my brain a while to calm down. Shutting down technology about an hour before I’m trying to fall asleep has been helping me SO much. That means I shut off my TV, phone, and computer and move to journaling, reading, or some other mellow non-tech activity before bed. I’ve come to love this ritual – it is so calming!
- I don’t work at night: I’ve never really been a nighttime worker, but sometimes I find myself saying “oh just answer these emails now, so you don’t have to wake up to them” and then a few emails turns into a few more, and with that, more stress, and more things firing off in my brain. When I finally get to bed, my brain is fully revved up, and I find it really hard to all asleep. So, I’ve had to be really firm with myself: NO working at night. Of course I can’t always get around this, but I try as hard as I can.
- I plug my phone in across my apartment (not next to the bed): As you can see, I’ve noticed that better sleep is highly correlated with less technology! Putting my phone physically on the other end of the apartment (I live in a Studio, otherwise, I’d probably put it in another room) helps me create not just physical distance, but mental distance from my phone and everything that’s on it. It’s one more way I signal to myself that it’s time for bed and for the “constantly connected” time of my day to come to and end. I move from focusing on the outside world to focusing on myself. Obviously, it keeps me off my phone, too!
- I breathe in Lavender Essential Oil: I had an idea to have a certain scent that signaled to my brain that it was bed time, so I use a Lavender Essential Oil. I keep it on my nightstand, and when I’m all cozied up in bed, I drip a little onto my hands and wrists, rub them together, and then holding my hands up to my face, take a few deep inhales. It instantly relaxes me and who knows, maybe it is signaling to my brain that it’s time for bed. Sometimes I also put a little oil on my pillow and my upper lip (right below my nose) so that I keep smelling it a bit longer. For anyone interested, I use this oil.
- I wear an eye mask (and occasionally ear plugs): I had never worn an eye mask or ear plugs before, but in an effort to seriously improve my sleep, I decided to go all in. I ordered an eye mask and ear plugs off amazon, and started using them every night. Living in NYC in a street-facing apartment, it’s incredibly loud. Plus, my blinds are decent but with all this summer light, my apartment was never really dark. Wearing an eye mask and ear plugs took some getting used to, and to be honest, I try not to wear the ear plugs unless I really need to (these can’t be good for your ears if you wear them every day can they?), but I feel really comfortable wearing both now and they’ve been a huge help.
- I keep Melatonin in my nightstand just in case (but try not to use it that often): I don’t really like using any supplements (I am really stubborn with that stuff!), but I would rather take Melatonin, which is natural, every now and then if I absolutely need it than not get a good night sleep. I use Melatonin if my mind is particularly active. This could be if I have a major high-stress work function the next day or if I am going through something particularly stressful. I try all of my other steps first, but if I just know that I’m going to have a particularly hard time falling asleep, I’ll take a low dose of Melatonin. It’s nice to know I have something to fall back on if I absolutely need it, but thankfully I rarely need to use it.
- I protect my sleep with my schedule: This has also been a HUGE game changer. Even though I’m constantly tempted to go out or stay out late, my sleep right now has become a non negotiable. I have SO much going on with work, and I can’t afford to not have a good night sleep these days. So I’m still having a ton of fun in my life and doing something social most nights, but I’m keeping an eye on the clock and ensuring that I’m home in time to get a solid 8 hours. Of course this doesn’t alwwwayyys happen (you also gotta live a little!) but I try really hard to get 8 hours most nights and make less “exceptions” than I used to.
All of these little steps combined have really helped me get solid sleep almost every night. Not only has the sleep itself helped me, but also the peace of mind that I pretty much KNOW I’ll get a good night sleep every night. I used to have so much anxiety not knowing if I would sleep well, and that’s just not a fun feeling to have.
I’m so curious about this one… do you sleep well? What do you do in order to ensure a good night sleep? If you’re not sleeping well, what do you think is getting in your way? Let’s discuss!