My best tips to fall asleep and get enough rest
Sleep is one of those things that can cause everything in your life to suffer if you aren’t getting enough of it. They call it beauty sleep for a reason. Sleep affects not only how we feel, but also how we look. The dark circles under the eyes, bloodshot eyes, it affects our skin, it can affect everything about us.
I have been on a sleep journey for 12 years. Sleeping used to be my superpower and then all of a sudden it became my worst enemy. I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out the things that will help me sleep and today I’m sharing my favorites. It’s a long list, so today we’ll cover the things that help me fall asleep and next week we’ll talk about the things that help me stay asleep.
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Silk sleep mask
Light can disturb sleep, and during certain times of the year it gets light really early, but aside from that, there are other light sources that can disturb sleep. I’ve started wearing a sleep mask, and it’s helped tremendously, but the one I was wearing was causing a permanent smashing and sideways bed of my eyelashes that didn’t come out with showering or mascara application. After looking around, I found this one that has pockets for my lashes, which are slowly unbending.
There are actually quite a few that have these pockets, but I wanted a silk one, and not only because it feels so luxurious. Silk is ideal for your skin because it doesn’t dry out your skin the way other fabrics do, it won’t absorb the beauty products you apply to your skin at bedtime, and it’s antimicrobial, which also keeps your skin beautiful.
After having six kids, we have become light sleepers. Every rustle of the sheets, trip to the bathroom, or creak of the house disturbs our sleep.
I prefer this over a white noise machine because I truly can’t find the rhythm or pattern, and it runs for over an hour. We have it set on a schedule to go off over and over again because sometimes the repeat function fails in the night. The track we use is on Amazon Music and it’s called Ocean Sounds by Joe Baker.
I like to listen to meditations when I go to sleep, but I don’t want to bother Mr. Stunning or compete with the ocean music. Regular earbuds will fall out of my ears and get lost in the bed, plus they are uncomfortable when lying on my side. I can comfortably wear these all night, even sleeping on my side.
I also like to wear them during my workouts for the same reasons. They don’t fall out or get lost.
Our bedroom is also on the main floor, and we have hard wood throughout, so if we are trying to sleep and our early risers or night owls are up, we hear it all. Every clank of the dishes, every water cup filled, not to mention every bark, yip, or toenail clack of our dog, who is certainly up with them.
We changed out our bedroom door for a solid one, considered buying sound panels and all kinds of crazy ideas, until we found the sound curtains. They block almost every noise! We even put a set in front of the ante, and I love how they look. None of the colors are what I would choose for my décor, but we ordered a set to try them out. The plan was if they worked, I would look for fabric I do love and have a seamstress cover them. I ended up finding curtains I love and right now the two sets are double hung, but I plan to take them to the tailor and have her stitch them together.
I’m considering taking down our plantation shutters at the other end of our bedroom and putting up the curtains there to block the light at night as well as the bird preserve that has taken up residence in the trees outside our bedroom. They are so noisy!
These curtains will also function as blackout curtains as well. In the photos below, the first are the sound blocking curtains in navy, the second and third are inspiration photos for the oversized drape look I’m going for, and the fourth and fifth are both sets of curtains hung together outside of my bedroom hallway and inside of the bedroom door.
For these next two, you need to know I’m not a doctor, and this isn’t medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplement or medication to your regimen because it could interact with something you are already taking or other reasons. “Because April said so,” is not medical advice.
If you’ve reached the age when your hormones get wonky, you might need help balancing them with progesterone. I take it at night and it helps me drift off to sleep. How soon before bedtime I need to take it depends on how much food I have in my stomach. Have your hormone levels checked by your doctor to see if it will help you.
My doctor took me off progesterone for a while and recommended I try CBD oil, and it’s also great for helping me sink into sleep. I don’t need both, and now that I’m back on progesterone, I don’t use it. This is the brand I used, but whatever you choose, I would recommend the capsules rather than the tincture because the taste is vile and doesn’t go away after eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth.
This one is critical. The ideal temperature when sleeping is, and even though I’m cold natured when I’m awake, I get hot really easily when I’m asleep. Cooling down the entire main floor when ours is the only bedroom on that level isn’t cost effective, so we take other measures. When the weather cools down, we open a window, and that keeps it fabulously cold while we stay warm and cozy under the covers.
To avoid the temptation to stay in bed all day because our room is as cold as it is outside, the heat is scheduled to come on about half an hour before we get up. While that doesn’t combat the open window, we keep the bathroom door closed, and it’s toasty and warm in there, so a quick trip across the room is all it takes to find refuge and my big cozy robe, which, coincidentally hangs over an air vent so it feels like it just came out of the dryer. Heaven.
In the summer it’s not as awesome, and for now we are using a giant fan, but we are looking for other options.
With all the sensory sensitivities I have, I often joke that I am the princess, and the entire world is my pea. I can’t sleep in pajamas that touch my neck, go below my elbows or knees, itch, scratch, or otherwise aggravate my skin. When I discovered Soma cool nights nightgowns, it was love at first touch. They are so soft and silky, but they also keep you cool and are moisture wicking for those miserable night sweats that start happening at a certain age.
They have so many styles that there’s something for everyone to love. My 15-year-old daughter, who is even more sensitive to the feel of things on her skin, touched one of mine recently while I was folding my laundry, and begged for a few of her own. She’s in love.
Blue LIght Glasses
Blue light is stimulating, and sleep hygiene experts recommend turning off all electronic devices and dimming the lights at least an hour before bed. If you are so diligent, my hat is off to you. I am not, so just like I wear blue light glasses while I work on my computer, I also keep a pair in my nightstand for watching TV or looking at my phone.
These are the first ones I bought because I thought it was snake oil, but they made an immediate difference in my workday, and they are the ones I keep in my nightstand. They are a little too wide for my baby-sized head, they do make things look more yellow, and they have a reflective glare, which I don’t love during the day, but for nighttime hanging out in my room, they work great.
The ones I wear during the day have no glare, don’t make the world look golden, and can be ordered with a prescription. I have these in the whiskey tortoise, but they are so dark on the front they look black. I have one pair as readers for when I’m working and a plain pair I can wear anytime. I love them both.
These are the ones I have that truly look tortoise, which I love, but I prefer the shape of the others. The color is called root beer. If only they made the root beer color in the other frame shape, all my dreams would come true. Mr. Stunning loves them on me as well and calls them my sexy secretary glasses.
Magnesium is used in over 300 chemical processes in the body, and most people are deficient because our soil is depleted, and therefore our food doesn’t have as many nutrients as they once did. That’s not even counting the way processed foods have replaced natural foods.
A magnesium deficiency can show up in a variety of symptoms like muscle cramps, back pain, headaches and…POOR SLEEP. Taking magnesium at bedtime naturally helps your body relax so you can sleep. Not only that, but it keeps your bowel movements regular. You’ll know you’re taking too much if they become too loose.
There are different varieties of magnesium however, so not all of them will help you sleep and poop. My favorite is the Natural Calm powder. It’s got a fruity effervescent flavor, and I mix it with a cup of water (literally…8 ounces) about 30 minutes before bedtime. Read the reviews and you’ll be amazed at what symptoms it’s helped people resolve.
These have all been game changers for me and have made a dramatic impact on my sleep quality and quality of my life. I hope this was helpful, and I hope you can get some sleep. It makes all the difference in the world if you can sleep peacefully, and as someone who hasn’t slept well in 12 years now I can see that I wasn’t sleeping well my entire life. I’m excited to share more tips with you next week, and can’t wait for you to join me!
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3 thoughts on “Favorite Things That Help Me Fall Asleep”
Thank you for sharing this. I don’t sleep well and haven’t for a very long time. The eye mask I will try. I have always disliked them because I couldn’t stand my lashes touching it. And Soma is the best! The only sleepwear for me too. Looking forward to more tips.
Psychologist here. This is one of the most common client problems. Usually it is the mind not wanting to shut off. So the key is to find something that will absorb a bit of the frontal lobe’s attention, but would also be a bit boring and definitely non-arousing, to allow the rest of the brain to get you to sleep. Counting backwards by TENS from a large number (I start at 1400) at a relaxed pace while breating normally often works. If you lose your place, good news! It means you were already starting to fall asleep. Just pick another number and resume. I find myself starting to yawn, and will exxagerate that, to fool my brain into sleeping. Other good strategies: trying to remember something in a sequence, e.g., states down the eastern seaboard, a mental trip through a building that was familiar to you (a school or church or office building), family vacations you have taken in order, etc. One client did not groove to any of those, so she designed purses while trying to fall asleep. Whatever works! The good news with these is that you always have these tactics with you and they cost nothing.
Yes to Soma’s Cool Nights pajamas. I have worn them for years. Also take magnesium. I am going to try mouth taping but am prepared to be laughed at by hubby. Also looking for a good way to get soft music that will automatically stop in a couple of hours. Guess I will have to pay the monthly fee for Amazon Music or Spotify.