When I first heard about Gwyneth Paltrow’s clean sleeping trend last year, I couldn’t help but scoff a little bit. I mean, seriously. I imagine her being hermetically sealed into an anti-ageing, oxygen chamber while a fleet of Oompa Loompas work frantically to make sure that her sleep isn’t disturbed by any outside distractions. Meanwhile, in my world filled with all the Wangdoodles and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids, quality sleep is often an unattainable luxury. In fairness, Paltrow’s suggestion that we should lay off of our phones and TV before bed is probably all kinds of true, but she totally loses me when she starts talking about copper pillowcases.
That being said, I know that quality sleep is extremely important when it comes to overall wellness, but I had to take a more realistic approach than giving up on electronics because, you know, Netflix doesn’t just binge watch itself at 1 am. I started by doing a complete overhaul of my bedding, with a new mattress, new pillows and, sigh, full disclosure, I even bought one of those copper pillowcases which is kind of amazing to sleep on. Well played, Gwyneth, well played. But what next? I thought for sure that I’d become one of those morning people that can just pop up out of bed all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Hardly. Though I felt way more rested than I have in years, I still felt a little groggy. Here’s what I was missing. Sleep is as vital to wellness as exercise and diet, so it should be treated as such. The careful design that goes into your workout of choice and your meal plan should also go into your unique sleep routine.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
We’re not kids anymore, so bed time doesn’t have to be at 8pm, but establishing a consistent sleep schedule that works within your schedule and not against it, will train your body to wake and rise with ease. Circadian rhythm and other science type stuff, y’all.
- Establish an evening bed time ritual
Truth: I love rituals. Candles, aromatherapy, meditating, herbal tea. I think I was a witch, or worse yet a hippie, in a former life. Anyway, a nice chamomile tea and a homemade sleep spray are just what the shaman ordered.
- Snack Intelligently
I absolutely can not fall asleep on an empty stomach. I know I’m not alone. But instead of reaching for a three course meal at midnight, eat foods that actually help increase your body’s melatonin without weighing you down. Think pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, yogurt, or trail mix.
- Rage against your sleep tracker
Not a band name, y’all, it’s a battle cry. Because one thing’s for sure: if your sleep tracker is causing you stress, you should probably stop paying so much attention to it. We all feel this need to compile as much data as we can to fix some problem. These sleep tracker apps tell us all the details of our sleep cycle. Each disruption. Each second of sleep we missed. Fact: worrying about that data will cause anxiety that will keep you restless. It’s like looking at your throat when you’re sick. Is it really any redder than it was when you were perfectly healthy? Ignore the data for a bit and just listen to your body.
- If all else fails…
Invest in some technology that helps you drift off to dreamland. White noise machines will help drown out all the ridiculousness, like some dude speeding down Linden Blvd. blasting trap music at 3am. Air purifiers are also a must have especially if you’re noticeably congested every morning. Try using this 2-in-1 air purifying, white noise machine available on Amazon or Wayfair.