How to ROCK your Bedtime Routine, fall asleep fast, (and make a pretty killer DIY Sleep Mask)
Throughout most of my adult life I have had problems getting to sleep. Staying asleep? No problem (usually). But since high school I found myself pulling un-needed all nighters. Not like I needed to finish a project, but literally couldn’t get to sleep.
I read all of the articles on what to do but couldn’t seem to quiet my brain down. I’d taken medications that got me to sleep great, but left me drowsy in the morning. (what I like to call a sleep hangover) It was only recently that I found something that actually worked for me without medication of any kind.
No one ever tells you that adulting means you essentially have to treat yourself like a child. You create a bedtime routine for yourself. Try to give yourself healthy food. Set up playdates with your friends and family. And sometimes you do things that you don’t want to do even though you know its good for you.
Anyway, back with the sleep thing. I had to start creating a bedtime routine for myself. It really helps set me into the flow, and I can honestly say for the last 2 months I have not had a problem falling asleep or getting out of bed the next day.
1. HAVE A SET BEDTIME. Everynight, without fail (unless working late or at an event) start putting yourself to bed at your chosen bedtime. I usually shoot for 9:30/10 PM. Your body will start to associate this time with going to bed so you’ll be more apt to fall asleep.
2. HAVE A SELF CARE ROUTINE. One of the things I noticed was that even though I was tired or had stayed up super late, I would forget to wash my face or brush my teeth. And of course, that leads to a whole world of problems.
Now, I wash and moisturize my face with Neutrogena hydro boost, then brush my teeth with TOMS all natural toothpaste. It really feels good to take care of myself at night and sets the right tone calm down and rest.
If you’re a night shower-er, treat yourself to some aromatherapy with lavender, vanilla and chamomile shower melts to help calm down and de-stress.
3. LEAVE THE COMPUTER IN ANOTHER ROOM. I know, I know. What if inspiration strikes? Keep a notebook next to the bed. If you’re like me, you’re the kind of person that will surf the internet all night long until you literally pass out from exhaustion, so make the decision to keep the computer away.
4. MAKE A LIST. Make your to do/ appointment list for the next day. Doing this early means you won’t be kept up all night worrying about your schedule and thinking of things you need to do. You’ve written it down. Don’t worry about it any more.
5. READ A BOOK – like an actual book (ie this is not the time to catch up on the news). I love reading, but if you’re like me, most of your books are on kindle or ipad, so make the consious effort to have a real book handy. Set a limit of 2-3 chapters and try to stay away from exciting fiction. I’ve recently been reading BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert (if you’re looking for suggestions) I’ll ready 1-2 sections, then think and meditate on it.
6. GET A WHITE NOISE MACHINE. Seriously. I don’t know how I used to live without one. This will help to block outside noise and keep you from focusing on that drip in the sink, or creak in the fan. I have an app on my phone that is amazing just for this purpose.
7. BLOCK OUT ALL LIGHT. Yes, curtains aren’t just for daytime and sleep masks aren’t just in the movies. Living in an apartment and having no clue how to put up curtains makes this a little hard for me, but I recently discovered the beauty of sleep masks, and OMG, I love it! Honestly, I think its a combination of blocking out the light and the pressure against my eyes, but it works wonders. Scroll down for a tutorial on making your own!
8. BREATHE DEEP. If you’re like me, your mind likes to wander in bed, thinking of things you have to do the next day, things you forgot today, blog ideas, meeting notes, etc. I get it. But what I have to consiously do is block them out. Breathe deep, focus on your white noise, cuddle up to your favorite pillow.
I’m not saying its going to be easy, but getting yourself in a routine will help. Just like with kids, your body gets used to this and it’ll signal your brain to start making melatonin and to GO THE EFF TO SLEEP.
DIY Sleep Mask
1/4 yard (or less) of any fabric design you like.
1/4 yard (or less) Black Fabric
1 sheet felt
12 inches 1/4 inch elastic
Needle and thread or Sewing Machine
1. Start by layering your fabric to cut. I just folded it in half and drew about a 3 inch circle on one side, 1/2 inch from the fold line… HOWEVER you can also use this one from A Beautiful Mess. Cut your fabric and felt.
2. Measure around around your head to see the length of elastic you’ll need. I just take the elastic from the outer edge of one eye on one side, around the back of your head, to the same point on the other side. Cut where that ends.
2. Place your fabric right sides together and sew about a 1/2 inch seam leaving 1 inch open on the edges of each side.
3. Turn your fabrics right side out and slide in your felt. NOTE: Your felt may be too large to fit in the pocket you just created. Its cool. Cut about 1/2 inch around the edges and it should slide right in there.
4. Insert your elastic into the hole you left each side of your mask and pin.
5. Fold the edges of the loose fabric ends inward and sew a 1/2 inch seam around the outside of the mask.
6. Decorate! I’m not too big on it, but you can use felt cut outs, sequins, paint and tacky glue to personalize your mask!
7. Rock your Bedtime Routine and GET SOME SLEEP!