"You are either in your bed or in your shoes, so it pays to invest in both." - John Wildsmith
About a month and half ago, when I was having some major trouble sleeping, I asked for your help on Instagram and you guys came through tenfold. There was seriously valuable advice shared in the comments section of that post. I've been using the last few weeks to heed your advice, fix my sleep schedule, and build some better habits to get a sound night of zzz's.
I wanted to come back here today to share, in no particular order, what worked for me.
Disclaimer: One of the more popular suggestions I got was melatonin, which I admittedly did not try. I wanted to fix my sleeping schedule by forming better habits (i.e., a long term solution) vs. hacking my way there. I'm fully aware and respect that melatonin is an extremely helpful option that many people use to help them get to sleep faster, it's just not the route I decided to take.
1) Manage your clutter
Although I moved to my current apartment over six months ago it wasn't until very recently that I started to really treat it like a 'home' as opposed to just the space I live in. Previously, I would let clutter accumulate for weeks before realizing I needed to do a major clean up. As you can imagine, this is a pretty terrible environment to be operating in, especially if you struggle with anxiety. This was, without a doubt, one of the biggest factors stopping me from getting a good night's sleep. There were countless night's where I would crash on the couch because my bed was a mess of clothes and hangers. My mom always says, "Cluttered house, cluttered mind" and it irritates me to this day, but what can I say? She's right. Making it a habit to tidy up every night makes a world of a difference in putting me at ease before bedtime.
2) Form a daily routine
I recently got a full time job, which has meant waking up much earlier than I'm used to and being out and on my feet for most of the day. This in itself has been enough to lead me to bed at least three hours earlier than I otherwise would. Shortly before officially starting my job I would get out of bed around 8am, leave the house by 10am, and force myself to stay out till the average work day ended (4-6pm). Whether I was working on blog related stuff from a cafe, meeting friends, or even shopping, my goal was to simply stay out of the house and make sure I was active. It worked like a charm and even prepped me in advance for my work schedule. Set up a routine for yourself and let your body clock work its magic.
3) Limit TV time
I remember the days I used to spend hours on the couch, binge watching entire TV series as if it were yesterday. Because it kind of was. Part of my plan to wake up early and stay out also included spending less time mindlessly flipping through shows and movies on Netflix. As much as I love Netflix (and I really, truly do love it), keeping my mind preoccupied with multiple narratives until the wee hours of the morning makes it pretty difficult to unwind and be at peace once it's time to hit the hay. Reserving TV time for off days and weekends made it way more enjoyable and was largely responsible for helping me feel more in tune with my mind and body during the week.
4) Make your bed a fortress of comfort
All my life I have been a pretty undomesticated person. It's only in the last three months or so that I've taken a keen interest in interior design and home decor, and as a result have focused a lot of my time making my house a home. And what a crazy difference it's made. Coming home to fresh sheets, plush cushions, and a made bed instantly gets me aching to climb in and fall asleep. Another massive upgrade I made in the home decor department was get a new mattress. It never occurred to me that my mattress might need replacing until my recent partnership with Casper***. The first night I slept on my new Casper mattress I slept so well that when I woke up the next morning I had literally no idea where I was. Seriously, check your bedding situation. It's an investment you will never regret.
A side note on bedding: Until about a year ago I used to wake up with terrible neck pains. The pain was so bad that the strain on my nerves would cause severe headaches that wouldn't go away for days. I tried memory foam pillows, down feather pillows, neck support pillows - nothing worked. So I ditched pillows altogether and it changed my life. My pillows are strictly for decoration. Thought I would put this out there because it honestly helped me A LOT. My best friend makes fun of me for it (see below) but it worked.
5) Trick your body into thinking it's bed time
This was something that happened to me first, before my realizing it was helping me improve my sleeping habits. Every day when I get home I tend to procrastinate taking my makeup off for hours and hours until right before it's time to go to bed (don't lie, you do the same). This is pretty routine practise for me and I'll often also take my second shower of the day at the same time. Since I've been doing this for as long as I can remember, my body naturally assumes it's time to wind down when I head to the bathroom to take the day off (i.e.,I start yawning and stretching). Trick your body into thinking it's bedtime by associating an activity with the act of going to sleep every single night. Things like taking off your makeup, taking a shower, drinking an herbal/decaf tea, doing a breathing exercise, meditating etc. Think of it as creating an 'off' switch for your body, something that let's it know it's time to power down.
1) Drink caffeine after 4pm. Pretty standard advice, just worth reinforcing.
2) Use sleep sprays if you are prone to allergies. Made a big mistake with a lavender sleep spray and ended up having the worst night's sleep.
3) Eat dinner too late. Let your body digest food before you lay down for 7 hours straight.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading today's post! I hope it was helpful or insightful, at the least. It was extremely helpful for me having so many suggestions flood in when I asked you guys for advice on Instagram and I simply wanted to pass that favour forward.
What do you do to help get a better night of sleep? Leave me a comment below!
[P.S., Follow What We Wore on Instagram for regular updates, coffee shots, #ootd's and more.]
***I was sent a mattress and partnered with Casper on this post; however, all opinions stated herein are my own.