As the mother of two teenagers, I find their sleep habits completely maddening. They go to bed, fall right asleep, sleep the whole night, and wake up cheerful. Come ON. That’s just inconsiderate as hell when you live under the same roof as your two insomniac parents.
Most posts about how to get a better night’s sleep tell you to turn off all devices and do an hour of meditation before bed. Nice idea, but not always the real world, right? Here are some things that have actually helped me get better quality sleep—in the real world, with my real stress, and my really busy life.
- No caffeine after noon. As much as I'd love a cup of black tea in the afternoon, it's completely disastrous for my sleep.
- I stop drinking water (except sips) at least an hour before bed. Peeing = not sleeping.
- I shower right before bed, marking the end of “productivity” for the day. The warm water relaxes my tired body, and the smell of my beautiful soap calms my brain. An evening shower also means going to bed with clean skin, usually covered in Night Body Oil, which signals to my body and brain (thanks to my olfactory nerve and limbic system) that it’s time to sleep.
- After showering, I stretch for five or ten minutes. If I haven't meditated already, I’ll do that for another five or ten minutes. For a little meditation inspiration, read this.
- I make a little drink with magnesium and glycine nightly. I’ve tried many magnesium supplements, but these two must be the right cocktail for my brain chemistry—I sleep way more soundly!
- If I really need a good night of sleep, I sometimes take this chamomile supplement, recommended by Andrew Huberman. If I wake in the night, it helps me fall back to sleep more easily.
- I always charge my phone in another room, so I’m not tempted to look at it if I wake up and so it doesn't light up and interrupt my sleep.
- This may not be applicable for you, but I started hormone replacement therapy. I'm currently perimenopausal, still getting a regular period, but I started supporting my system with some progesterone and I really noticed a difference in my sleep.
- I only read fiction at bedtime. I loved story time as a young girl, when my father read to me every night. I loved story time with my girls when they were little. Reading fiction on my Kindle before bed is my version of story time, even though I usually get sleepy pretty quickly.
- As I snuggle into my pillow, I review all the things I’m grateful for about the day or my life. I barely get through my family, my friends, my furries, and my team at Osmia before I feel myself starting to surrender to the sandman.
I hope some of these tips help you sleep better—good quality sleep is serious medicine, and it may not be as hard to achieve as you might think!