Our guide to getting a good night's sleep

Posted January 10, 2020 by Christina Najjar

Sleep. Sleep! The eternal hot wellness topic. Ariana Huffington is obsessed with it, Margaret Thatcher only needed 5 hours, your sister in law swears by blackout curtains… the list of urban sleep myths goes on and on. And yet, it still seems no one is getting high quality or enough z’s.

Ask any functioning adult about their sleep hygiene (we’re still getting used to that term, too) and they’ll embark on a 25-minute soliloquy about their habits, their dreams, and their weighted eye mask before finally admitting they sometimes take a Xanax just to get a solid REM cycle in. And who can blame them! How can something so crucial to our existence be so difficult? Well, maybe because we’re all overworked, anxiety-ridden and screen-obsessed. Sigh. That’s the bad news. The good news is over the years we have collected some very solid tips and tricks that help us drift into dreamland. (Disclaimer: we aren’t doctors, just very type-A, frequently-on-planes workaholics, and this is what we know.) 


Sure, everyone has a favorite and, yes, you’ve been meaning to download one, but actually what is the deal with these mythical creatures, and are they worth all the fuss? We can’t speak for everyone, but Calm really does it for us. Spoiler alert: the app is $60. Yes, as in six zero. We balked when we first went to download it, but here’s the thing: it really works. You can put on white noise like soft rain or our favorite “crackling fireplace,” you can have Matthew McConaughey read you a bedtime story (not hyperbole - he really is on there), or you can do a set sleep meditation which just helps you relax and focus on something other than your spiraling to-do list. It’s worth the 60 bucks and also - let’s be real - cheaper than therapy.


Something like 80% of adults are magnesium deficient. (Not a verified fact, again: not doctors.) Magnesium supplies are depleted by stress, so go figure. Here’s the cool thing about magnesium: its nickname is nature’s Xanax. It relaxes the muscles and generally makes you feel chilled out and helps with digestion. Ever since the first night we tried Natural Calm Calmful Sleep, we have loved it more than most of our extended family. No, seriously. It’s a game-changer on every level. Not only does it take the edge off in an entirely natural way, but it also makes you want to go to sleep gently and without feeling groggy in the am. Pro tip: the mini travel sachets are incredible. 


The other “M” in the sleep game. A lot of people are dubious, but finding the right melatonin can be the key to life itself. We love Sagely Naturals capsules and - bonus - they have CBD in them which apparently helps you stay asleep. Double bonus, Sagely Naturals is, well, natural and founded by women. Woo hoo! No weird melatonin hangover either. Promise. 


Slightly bio-hackey, slightly inspired by Dave Asprey and, at the same time, definitely worth investigating. No high-horse here: turning off all screens “two hours before bedtime” seems reasonable to absolutely no one. While we try to keep in-bed scrolling, emailing, and reality-TVing to a minimum, wearing the blue-light blockers is supposed to drastically reduce the effects. EyeBuy Direct has some cute ones. Also, we’re trying the thing where our phones go dim after sundown. Might as well throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, right? 


Last, but not least, this approach may sound woo-woo, but making space for yourself as you wind down from the day can make all the difference in the world to sleep. Create little rituals you can look forward to that help signal that it’s time to wind down. Reading an actual fiction book for pleasure, for instance. Taking a hot shower or indulging in a soak - Goop bath salts are a total treat and very spa-like. Listening to soothing music or doing some breathing exercises - whatever floats your boat. Just commit to it and stick to it. (Sometimes the ritual is half a glass of Malbec and sometimes that is okay, too.) Finally, curl up in your sheets, and, ah! You’re there.

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