When I left corporate America in 2017, my goal was to become a better sleeper and get close to 8 hours of sleep each night. To give you an idea of the obstacle I was facing, prior to this goal, I was averaging about 3 – 4 hours of sleep per night. Cafecitos were my bestie, and I always felt super lethargic. Needless to say, I was burnt out and most of the time my skin lacked the dewy glow most women want. My hair even started to fall out in massive clumps. The latter was my final straw in the game. It was clear that my body wasn’t recovering effectively, so I needed to make sleep a priority.
So when I left corporate America, I decided to make the necessary changes in my lifestyle to ensure I was getting more sleep. I created habits that really changed my sleep and life overall.
It’s been two years and I can honestly tell you what worked and what didn’t work.
Here are my tips to help you get more sleep!
Track Your Sleep
I didn’t realize I had a sleep problem until I started tracking my sleep. I blamed my constant tired feeling to hormones, nutrition, lack of exercise, stress, and everything else under the sun… aside from sleep. I know, such denial, right!?
I had a FitBit and realized that aside from tracking my heart rate and nutrition, it could also track my sleep. So I wore FitBit to bed and synced the app the next morning… that’s when I learned I was getting the worst sleep in the history of mankind.
The FitBit has sleep tracker function that tells you exactly how much sleep you are getting and the percentage you are getting across the various sleep cycles (REM, deep sleep, etc). It was eye opening – pun intended. And no they are not sponsoring this post!
For me tracking was the first step in realizing I had a sleep problem, and it helped me set a bedtime and wake up goal each day.
I forced myself to be in bed each night by the set bedtime and in the morning I would get out of bed no matter how I felt. It helped me to create a new cycle.
Turn That Shit Off
To get great sleep I had to cut the addiction to my devices. Luckily, I dont have a TV in my bedroom, so cutting down on TV time wasn’t too difficult. My phone, however was the issue. I decided to leave my phone in the kitchen next to my coffee maker with an alarm set, this forced me to get out of bed at a specific time. I also had to walk outside my bedroom and into my kitchen to turn off the alarm.
I hated it.
Trust me I am THE GRUMPIEST morning person.
But it worked.
Now I enjoy waking up and not immediately checking my phone for emails and texts. It’s nice to have a morning routine that’s all about me.
Cut the Alcohol
UGHHHHHH. WHYYYYY. I’m such a lush. But this next sleep tip was a game changer for me. I was going to networking events, dinners, and soirees almost every night during the week. Even if they were happy hour time slots; the alcohol still affected my sleep. I made it a personal mission to cut alcohol during the week.
Yes. It sucked.
I deserve a badge of honor for my heroic efforts.
But it worked.
I started sleeping more soundly during the night with less awake times – per my FitBit.
It also changed my savings account because it turns out drinking is expensive in Miami! This was a double win. My trick to stay sane events is to order a club soda with lime in a rocks glass. This allows me to hold a glass in order to keep my social anxiety at bay and stay hydrated.
My skin also saw a big difference.
Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sanctuary
Don’t you love sleeping in a luxurious hotel room. I always felt like I slept better in hotels than my own home. So this inspired me to recreate a hotel-like space at home. This sleep tip means cozy sheets, new pillows, and total darkness.#treatyoself!
Living in a city, there are so many lights and noises that are out of my control. So I decided to use my old iPhone and delete all of the apps aside from the alarm and my favorite meditation app, Breethe. You can read more about that ritual here.
I use the Breethe apps “sleep sounds” to drown out the neighbors hoodrat music, car alarms and people honking at the Brickell avenue bridge.
I also spray my sheets each night with This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. OBSESSED. It really works.
Read more on my bedroom here.
Read a Book
I love reading and it seems like I rarely made time to read. Now, I have a specific time 45 minutes before bed that’s allocated just for reading.
It helps wind me down.
I can’t read in bed because I literally zonk out with the lights on.
So I’ll turn the TV off and read on my couch instead. It’s nice to give your eyes a break from devices, so I read a regular old fashioned books. This is probably one of the easiest sleep tips to implement because I am sure you have a book or magazine around the house to help you get started!
No Kindle, no iPad.
Here are some great books that I enjoy reading.
Dim Lights + Silky Eye Mask.
My bedroom is now reserved for sleep and… well you know. As I work on my bedroom remodel, it’s becoming better than a hotel now because it’s cozy and perfectly me!
One of the way’s I implement that cosy hotel vibe is with a dimming light. My friend Jess gave me a Selenite Crystal dimming lamp for my birthday. It’s very chic. As I’m winding down for bed, I’ll turn off all my lights and just use this lamp at night. Perhaps I’ll light a candle or two in the bedroom. Really helps get me in the mood for bedroom activities.
Either way once the final light goes out, my room is pitch black.
According to the Sleep Foundation the optimal temperature for sleep is between 60-67 degrees Farenheit. At night your body naturally detoxes so it warms up to eliminate these toxins. If you’re a woman there are certain times of the month that your body over heats at night too. However, there’s no need to be sweating at night so make sure you take into account your bedding and where you live.
I’m always freezing, so I don’t need it to be that cold in my apartment. My suggestion is to start with 65 degrees and adjust the thermostat from there.
Treat yo’ self to a little luxury. Grab some silky PJs to make your zen even more enjoyable. I usually dont wear much to bed, but for the nights I want to cozy up, I love these PJs because they are chic and so comfy.
I always opt for silky PJs and in the winter I’ll happily rock a cute cotton set to bed.
After my evening self-care routine I’m happy as a bee and ready for some serious zzz!
These are my favorite tips for getting a good nights sleep. My suggestion is to start with one or two that make the most sense to you. But most importantly it’s pertinent that you track your sleep so you know the total hours you are getting each night. I know the Sleep Foundation offers great resources to help ensure you gat your best ZZZs, so check them out too.
Hopefully you found this helpful. If you have other tips to share with the Birckellista community, leave them in the comments below.