While I won’t break out in song, let’s talk sleep. We all do it – some of us just do it better. Now you may be thinking ” How does one sleep better than others?” Great question my friend! A few months ago, I didn’t know that answer to this question either, but by being a curious little bee, I found out. I’m excited to share these sleep hacks with you!
Let’s take a step back. So in addition to blogging, I have another full-time career. I’m also a mother to a rambunctious tot who has a take-no-prisoners approach to everything. It’s a gross understatement to say that by 9 pm I am BEAT. Most nights, I have to pretend to sleep to get Camille to sleep. What actually happens is that I when I pretend to sleep I actually fall asleep while Camille continuously slaps my face in an attempt to wake me up. At some point, she realizes that I’m out and then she falls asleep. Around 3 am I wake up until my inevitable crash in the afternoon.
So I’m sure you can see how that evening routine sucked and left me beyond tired in the am. It wasn’t working – yet I continued this way for months. Although I was super exhausted, I was still adding more and more to my plate. I had more to do and the same amount of time to do things. I came across the idea of bio-hacking and I jumped in headfirst. Let’s just say that because of these sleep hacks these last couple of months have been transformational for me. I’ve been more productive and more rested. I think that you too could benefit from a higher quality of sleep.
My Evening Routine
My Ode to Sleep begins with my evening routine. I didn’t have an evening routine and this was the first pitfall that led to my consistent energy depletion. After doing some research and listening to every sleep podcast under the sun, I decided to create a routine. I’ve found that my 4-step routine works for me, but through some experimenting, you can find what works best for you.
Step 1: Use my blue-blocking glasses at least 3 hours before bed, and unplug 30 min. before bed. Just the quick and dirty on blue-blocking glasses – Blue light is present in electronic devices as well as natural lighting. It’s great in the daytime because it suppresses the production of melatonin which keeps us awake and alert. While this is great for the daytime, the case is not the same in the evening. When the sun goes down, in an effort to reset my circadian rhythm, I use blue-blocking glasses so that my body can successfully produce melatonin without me sacrificing having to totally unplug at night. Although, about 30 minutes before bed I completely unplug.
Step 2: Step 2 of my bedtime routine includes prepping what I need for the next day. This means work clothes, and making sure that my meals are prepped and ready to go for the next day. It’s pretty straight-forward.
Step 3: Engage in a relaxing activity before bed. On most nights I just read, journal, or meditate before taking a shower. Two days out of the week, my relaxing activity is to engage in a rigorous exercise which totally sets me up to relax in the evening.
Step 4: Get to bed by 10:30. This is my biggest challenge. Camille often times does not fully settle down until around 9:15. This gives me a small window to accomplish what I need to do before my 10:30 bedtime.
Tools for a Better Sleep
So not that I’ve given you the abridged version of my evening routine, let me share the sleep hacks that I use to elevate my sleep.
Croissant is a co-working app. I know it doesn’t seem to make total sense in terms of achieving high-quality sleep, but let me explain. When I am able to smash through my non-negotiable tasks, I feel crazy accomplished. When I know that I have achieved everything that I’ve needed for the day, my mind is 100 times more at ease and peace than not. This is a huge factor in helping me to quickly get to sleep.
Croissant allows me to find a variety of co-working spaces to work undisturbed for hours at a time. If you’re in Brooklyn, my all-time favorite co-working space is Camp David in Industry City.
While I’m showering, I keep one of these Spotify playlists going. I highly encourage you to look into the impacts of listening to binaural beats or ASMR before bed. As it relates to sleep hacks, this is a simple game-changer. When Camille is really struggling to sleep, oftentimes I’ll play one of these playlists and it’s lights out almost immediately afterward.
I first came across The Bedroom showroom by Lunya in Brooklyn about a year ago. I wasn’t too invested in my sleepwear prior to my discovery of Lunya. Cami knows when it’s time for bed because putting her jammies on is a precursor to the main event. I’ve adopted this ceremonial ritual and it really changes my mindset as I get ready to go to beddy-bye-bye-land. It also doesn’t hurt that I feel sexy AF when I’m lounging around in my cute jammies.
Burrow is a furniture company, however they made the cut because of the Sleep Kit that they sell. The sleep kit is a toolkit for comfortably sleeping on the sofa. While this is not something that I use often, it’s really great for overnight guests. It just makes the experience of sleeping on the sofa more comfortable.
This app monitors my sleep habits and provides me with a host of data in the morning. I am able to measure things such as my total sleep time, restful sleep time, sleeping heart rate dip, sleep disruptions, as well as log data in terms of how fatigued I feel the following day. It’s an Apple Watch app, so unless you have one, it won’t of any use to you. I am able to get a lot of data from the free version.
I am reallllllly big on making sure that my face is clean before bed. When this wasn’t a priority in my evening routine it showed on my face. I really enjoy Youth to the People’s Superfood Cleanser. It’s the only facial cleanser that they make and they do a damn good job at it. It contains cold-pressed antioxidants from kale, spinach, and green tea, and it smells so yummy.
Working out before bed is like the perfect sleep elixir for me. One of my favorite classes to take is Chaise Fitness. Chaise Fitness is a fitness experience that is physically based in New York and New Jersey. Although the physical locations are only in NY & Jersey, they offer an On-Demand virtual class as well. Imagine a class that marries ballet, pilates and strength-training centered around a special workout chair. Yeah, it’s different AF. To be perfectly honest, it took me a minute to stop chuckling because of the absurdity of it all, but once I got serious my ass was handed to me in the form of a damn-good workout.
I won’t lie to you, getting the ChiliPAD Sleep System was a sacrifice, design-wise. It’s not aesthetically pleasing at all to have a thermal regulating cube next to the bed. But boy does it change the sleep experience. The ChiliPAD Sleep System is a hydro-powered mattress pad that regulates the temperature of the bed. You can read about how this sleep hack works, here. A cheaper alternative to the ChiliPAD is to simply lower the temperature in your bedroom is around 60 degrees.
I’ve blogged about my love of blue-light blocking glasses before. Also, simply see Step One of my Evening Routine in this very post. I personally like Felix Gray because of the frames that they offer. They do the job, without sacrificing on style.
The last two items in my sleep hacks roundup are for Camille. To be frankly honest, when Camille sleeps well, I sleep well.
Moshi Twilight is an app that uses sleep stories and soothing audio to help usher the littles to sleep. We used to use this app every night and naptime with Cam, but we didn’t want her to become totally reliant on it in order to fall asleep. While we use it sparingly, it really does work in helping to get her to sleep. Try out the free version.
Camille has recently been requesting a pillow at night. She’s gone almost two years without a pillow, as per safe sleeping guidelines for babies. She’s at an age now where she can safely sleep with a pillow – but a toddler pillow. We opted to go for the KeaBabies My Little Dreamy Pillow which comes with an appropriately sized pillowcase. It can be easily washed and dried without lumps. Try it out!
I’m always on the lookout to learn more about what I don’t know, so please share if there are any sleep hacks that I haven’t named. I would love to give them a go! Here’s to happy sleeping!