If there’s one thing that I know about myself, it’s that I don’t do well without quality, consistent sleep. Thankfully, Landon is now at an age where he is sleeping well throughout the night, and I find myself enjoying (and appreciating) my sleep more than ever before. And, thanks to my consistent nighttime routine, my sleep has never been better, truly.
Within seconds of my head hitting the pillow, I’m out like a light. Ideally, I don’t wake at all through the night, but, there are times I’ll wake up once around 2:30 or 3 AM and quickly (fingers crossed) fall back asleep.
Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t always a good sleeper. In fact, due to chronic stress, I used to pop ZZZQuil nightly back in New York City to help me sleep. Without it, I would toss and turn all night long, and if I were up for too long in the middle of the night, my mind would start churning out to-do lists and drafting out email responses.
Occasionally I’ll end up back in my old cycle of poor sleep habits, but I’ve finally learned how to overcome poor sleep and improve my nighttime routine for good. I’m sharing more of my tips on how to do just that below.
Also, over the past year, while examining my white privilege, I’ve come to learn what a privilege it is to have an environment and lifestyle that’s supportive of a good night’s rest. While we’re all entitled to quality sleep, I know that it’s more accessible for some than others, and it’s time for that to change.
Before I share my sleep tips and nighttime routine with you, keep in mind that it can take a few nights or weeks to see an improvement in your sleep. Your body has to unlearn and acclimate to your new sleep routine, so do your best to stick with it.
Be patient and try not to get too frustrated if you don’t see instant results; it’s worth it.
Also, really try to stick with each of the below tips for better sleep. For example, you can’t wear blue light glasses but then stay up watching TV until 1 AM in a pitch-black room and wonder why you can’t sleep. Just sayin’. Your sleep routine will see the greatest payoff if you follow the helpful tips below.
Setting boundaries with your phone is critical to help get a better night’s rest. Texts, social media notifications, emails, and even phone calls are disruptive to your brain’s natural wind-down process and can hinder your ability to sleep well.
Pro tip: If you have an iPhone, open the Health app and click ‘Sleep’ to customize sleep and bedtime routines. This will turn off push notifications and silence incoming calls for a certain window before your set bedtime.
While they may seem like a trend, blue light blocking glasses are scientifically-proven to improve sleep. These glasses help block the harmful blue light that can cause melatonin to stop being produced.
I try to wear my blue light blocking glasses starting around dinnertime. This includes while watching TV, checking my phone, or even reading on my iPad. These are the blue light glasses I wear with over 50,000 reviews.
On top of blue light glasses, I suggest switching your electronics to automatic “night shift” mode from sundown to sunrise. This night shift will swap out harsh blue lights for warmer yellow lights.
Set the temperature in your room somewhere between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Also, ensure that you block out as much exterior light as possible to make your room extra dark.
Once you have the temperature and light situation handled, add a sound machine to block out distracting noises and help your brain relax. This is the sound machine we use nightly in our bedroom.
Pro tip: install blackout curtains or shades to darken your room even more. We purchased these blackout liners for Landon’s nursery because they pair with any existing curtain for a quick and easy blackout option.
I know that no one wants to hear this, but having a TV in your bedroom is one of the worst things you can do when improving your sleep. If you’re up for it, remove your TV from your space completely, but if anything, avoid watching it before bedtime, especially while in your bed (yes, even if you’re wearing blue light glasses).
Also, if you can, sleep with your phone in the bathroom or another room. Not only will this help distance you from your emails and texts, but it will also help you avoid the late-night and early-morning phone scrolling that helps absolutely no one.
This might sound crazy, but I know that our bed set-up is partially responsible for how well my husband and I sleep. Between our mattress, our investment-worthy sheets that stay cool year-round, and a pillow that finally doesn’t hurt my neck as a side sleeper, it’s hard for me to sleep anywhere else.
But, particulars aside, it’s critical to have a bed that you’re comfortable in and that can look different for everyone. How the heck do you expect to sleep well if your mattress hurts your hips and your pillow leaves you with kinks in your neck?
It’s worth investing in a bed set-up that encourages sleep, not makes you fight it or feel stressed out every time you climb in for the night.
Also, part of my simple morning routine is making my bed, and that’s because climbing into a cozy, well-made bed is an important part of my bedtime routine.
I reach for two sleep-supporting herbal supplements daily to help support my body’s natural sleep cycles and encourage a better night’s sleep. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, make sure to check with your doctor before trying any new herbal remedies or supplements, as always.
1. Soul Addict Organic CBD
This organic and family-farm grown CBD oil is my go-to for helping my mind wind down at night. I take CBD with my nightly tea an hour or two before bedtime. Soul Addict offers different doses depending on how many milligrams you’d like, but I opt for the lowest dose of 350 mg.
If you’re unsure where to begin choosing the right CBD for you, check out their handy dosing guide.
You can save 20% on your Soul Addict order with code SA_CARLEY20 at checkout. Shop now.
2. Welleum Lunawell Chinese Herbal Tincture
For full transparency, Welleum sent me my first bottle of Lunawell to try free of charge. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I’d never tried an herbal Chinese tincture before, but I was open to giving it a whirl. I took my dose as I was climbing into bed and waited.
My friends, I was completely blown away. My sleep felt deeper and I tossed and turned less than usual. I had more intense dreams and woke up feeling well-rested without being drowsy. It’s safe to say that Lunawell has become a regular on my nightstand. Just make sure to shake it well before use, and yes, you do eventually get used to the taste. I wash it down with water after taking it.
Pro tip: for liquid tinctures, administer underneath your tongue and hold for thirty seconds before swallowing. This technique helps increase absorption and encourages the supplement to enter your bloodstream more quickly.
In addition two the two supplements listed above, here are some other natural remedies proven to help sleep:
When my sleep quality starts to slip, and I become restless in the middle of the night, I now know that I have to improve my stress management during the day. Unfortunately, decoding the sleep and stress cycle is like determining whether the chicken or the egg came first.
When the body is short on sleep, you’ll begin to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol during the day. This frenzied state then can make it more difficult to sleep at night, and the cycle continues. You can become stressed about not sleeping, and then that stressing about stress will only keep you up at night longer.
So, what can you do? For me, as I mentioned above, I must manage my stress proactively throughout the day.
Stress management could look like:
Okay, aside from all of the tips for better sleep shared above, here’s my actual nighttime routine. It may seem like a lot when listed out, but I promise you it doesn’t take long. The truth is, my bedtime routine is comprised of small moments throughout the evening that encourages a quality night of sleep.
Ideally, the goal is to find a nighttime routine for better sleep that helps you feel more relaxed and calm. If reading my nighttime routine stresses you out, permit yourself to try it a different way. Or, perhaps start small with a few key changes to your current routine and go from there to find what works best.
Your nighttime routine should be sustainable and supportive, not stressful and unrealistic. Find what’s accessible and realistic for you.
That being said, I do encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new to improve your sleep. It might take a few nights to get used to your new routine, but your sleep is worth it. And remember, as with any long-term lifestyle change, consistency is key.
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