Experts are always touting the importance of sleep—small comfort if, like me, you struggle to clock the requisite 7-8 hours every day. I've had intermittent insomnia for as long as I can remember, and oftentimes I find myself going to bed and staying up to the wee hours because my mind and body are still wired. In honour of May being Better Sleep Month, sleep startup and comfy mattress purveyor Casper has asked me to share my tips for a better night's sleep. Read on to find out what works for me!
Stop drinking caffeine after 3pm. I try to limit my coffee intake to a grande dark roast in the AM, and maybe an afternoon cappuccino if I need a pick-me-up. Anything beyond that and I'm guaranteed a sleepless night.
Get plenty of exercise during the day. If I push myself hard in 2-4 Bar Method classes a week and go salsa dancing, and throw in some walking and light activity in between, I'm usually knackered enough to sleep soundly.
Give yourself plenty of "wind-down time" before bed. Some people can put away work and zonk out right away, but I'm not one of them—I need at least 1-2 hours for my mind to let go of the day and just relax in the evenings, whether it's by watching a movie, reading a book, or colouring.
Keep lights dim and devices out of the bedroom. Easier said than done most days! Since the boy finds it distracting when I have the lamp on, my best way of reading in bed (and helping my mind relax enough to doze off) is my iPad's Kobo app in night mode; it still emits that sleep-disrupting blue light we hear so much about, but at least it's dimmer than other light sources. I also don't keep my phone on my nightstand, preferring to leave it to charge overnight in the kitchen.
Find the pre-bedtime rituals that work for you and stick to them. A lot of people swear by the soothing powers of chamomile tea, a hot bath, journaling, yoga, meditation, or aromatherapy. As a beauty junkie, I rely on my multi-step night-time skincare routine to signal to my body it's bedtime—there's something relaxing about taking the extra five minutes for self-care. I also stash and apply a couple of beauty goodies bedside: Crabtree & Evelyn body butter on any rough patches on my elbows, knees, legs, and feet; Burt's Bees lip balm; Crabtree & Evelyn hand lotion; and Tata Harper Aromatic Bedtime Treatment (which I reviewed here) to help me drift off to dreamland as swiftly as possible.
Luxe up your sleep experience. Make bedtime an indulgent destination you look forward to every night by investing in linens and sleepwear to get excited about. In the winter, I alternate between my J. Crew Factory and PJ Salvage flannel pajamas to keep me toasty when it's cold; in the warmer months, I wear a mix of separates from Joe Fresh and local loungewear startup Smash + Tess. And if, like me, you want a duvet that feels warm in winter and cool in summer, might I suggest linen bedding? I picked up a striped linen duvet cover from West Elm last fall and it's nothing short of life-changing.
Do you struggle with getting enough sleep? What works for you?