If you ask my husband about my sleep habits, he will completely roll his eyes and tell you about how I can fall asleep within the first couple of minutes of putting my head down on the pillow. While that is completely true and seems totally awesome, I really struggle with staying asleep and know that it may only get worse as I get older thanks to genetics (my mom and grandma wake up multiple times every night). As a result, I’ve started taking my bedtime routine very seriously and have done tons of research on what works for other people to test out on my own. Over the past year I think I have found the perfect routine that works for me (& Blair) and wanted to share it with you!
The hardest part about traveling for me is actually not being able to do all of these things when I’m staying in a hotel or someone else’s home, but I do my best to make sure I travel with a couple of these items whenever possible. Aside from the physical items that I list below, there are three other major changes I have made that have dramatically improved the quality of my sleep:
1. Stop drinking water or other liquids at least 1 hour before bedtime whenever possible. This gives your bladder a break and helps to prevent getting up to use the restroom in the middle of the night and messing up your sleep cycles.
2. Place all electronics at least 5 feet away from your bed. I read somewhere that phones, computers, electric clocks, etc. seriously disturb your brain waves (did you know Apple doesn’t even recommend holding your iPhone up to your ear but rather an inch away?! eek!) within a 5 foot range, and now I leave my phone charging at the opposite end of the bedroom where I can’t reach it. This has not only helped me to choose books over staring at my screen before bed, but also significantly improves the quality of my sleep.
3. If you share a bed with someone on a consistent basis (hello, cohabitation), create a routine of heading to bed at the same time. This way, you avoid getting woken up by the other person when they head to bed (or wake up) at a different time. In my opinion this is not just a great way to have better sleep, but also so good for the relationship and staying connected with each other.
1. Cool Mist Humidifier :: I started using this a little over a year ago to help keep my skin from drying out in the winter, but now I use it year-round because it makes a very soothing sound (similar to a white noise machine) that helps to drown out outside noise. If you live in a noisy city like us I can’t recommend this enough. I also downloaded this white noise app on my phone to help me with sound when I travel and am missing my humidifier. If you want the noise but not the humidity, I’ve heard really great things about this sound machine.
2. Magnesium Citrate :: you can refer to my post all about my love for magnesium here, but let’s just say that I truly can’t live without this stuff. I make sure to take it at least an hour before I head to bed so that i don’t wake up in the middle of the night with a full bladder. I used to travel with my huge container until I recently discovered that they carry single-serve sized portions!
3. Eye Mask :: We have the most beautiful big windows in our bedroom that I refuse to cover with window treatments, and so we both sleep with these eye masks. I’ve tried a few different brands and keep coming back to this one because it blocks out every ounce of light — another thing I can’t travel without!
4. Essential Oils :: There are so many uses for essential oils, but my favorite way to use them is to diffuse them throughout the day or while I sleep. My go-to’s for sleep are lavender and frankincense, and I especially like to use them together! I put 5 drops of each with a cup of water in my diffuser (below). You can also find a ton of essential oils in the beauty section of your local Whole Foods or natural goods store so feel free to test out some other options!
5. Oil Diffuser :: Not only is this little machine super small and quite cute on my dresser, but it diffuses oils so beautifully! It has two settings, one that goes on and off every 10 minutes for a more mild effect and another that stays on until it runs out of water. If i’m particularly stressed or restless, I put it on full force and instantly feel better, otherwise I keep it on the intermittent setting throughout the evening once I’ve changed into my pajamas.
I’m so curious to know if you have any other tips or tricks to getting a good night’s sleep — I’m always looking to try new things. Please share if so!