After always being a great sleeper without any complaints about not being able to fall or stay asleep, my world was rocked recently with sleep woes a plenty that I haven’t quite been able to shake. After several weeks of restless nights and waking up several times a night, every. single. night., I did what any good insomniac would do… I took to Instagram Stories to vent and desperately seek some helpful advice from my lovely internet friends.
And man, you guys DELIVERED. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so many responses to an Instagram Story post – it’s been so interesting to hear about how many of you are also in the same boat right now (what’s up with the universe that’s making us not sleep?!) and how many unexpected tips flooded my direct messages inbox. Inspired by how many of you were also desperately seeking sleep help, I wanted to share a round up of your advice on how to get a better night’s sleep:
- Magnesium: SO many of you sent me a message suggesting a magnesium supplement, or even a powdered version that can be mixed into water, in order to help get a deeper, more restful sleep. I hadn’t heard of this before so I did a little research and magnesium has been proven to help kick insomnia by decreasing cortisol, the “stress hormone” that can keep you up at night. It also helps muscles relax, to give you that calm “sleepy” feeling and help you unwind after a long day.
- Essential Oils: From rolling lavender on the bottoms of your feet before bed, to having a diffuser bedside, and even pillow sprays, many of you guys swore by the calming effects of essential oils. I went through a phase of using a diffuser in my bedroom consistently and fell off the wagon somewhere over the past few months so I’ll be picking up that habit again and also ordered a lavender and chamomile pillow spray to help relax when my head hits the pillow.
- Cut Afternoon Caffeine: This one seems a bit obvious but as someone who has always been very proud of her afternoon cold brew habit’s lack of effect on her bedtime, it may be time to call it quits on coffee after 12 PM. While my poor quality sleep hasn’t been impacting my 6 AM wake up time, I definitely hit a serious slump around 3 PM, and then another around 7 PM, so it’s going to be a serious struggle to power through without a caffeine boost.
- Exercise: For both stress release reasons and simply tiring yourself out, a lot of you suggested making sure to get some form of exercise, every single day. While not much has changed in my own fitness routine, this could definitely be a factor in my insomnia I’ve been facing while traveling which means it’s time to start packing workout clothes and making sure I squeeze in time to sweat while on the go.
- White Noise: Whether it’s having a fan on in the room, to rain sounds or just good old plain white noise, having a ‘sleep soundtrack’ seems to do the trick for many. I’ve been listening to a rain sounds playlist on Spotify while traveling and staying in hotel rooms to help block out any strange background sounds, but Callie got totally freaked out by fake thunderstorm noises when I attempted to fall asleep to my go to Spotify rain sounds playlist, so I’ll be looking for another alternative.
- Melatonin + Other OTC Meds: A combination of melatonin, heavy carbs and 2 glasses of red wine has always been my secret to sleeping well on redeye flights, but sadly isn’t the best option for every night at home (although it sounds pretty great!). I decided to give melatonin another shot and ordered an extra strength option from Amazon but also heard about an option called ‘Restful Sleep’ from Whole Foods that works wonders, so I’ll be grabbing that as backup ASAP.
- Skip the Screen Time: To help your mind shut off and settle into bed time, several people suggested sleeping with your phone in another room and cutting out screen time for at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep. I’m totally guilty of sleeping with my phone in bed with me, and often scan emails during random middle of the night wakeup time so I think this one will make a big difference for me.
Anyone else have tips to share? I’m excited to put some of these to the test and will definitely report back if anything does the trick.