How to Create a New Sleep Routine
- Written By:Anjali Kumar
In her column for Just Bobbi, author, advisor and attorney Anjali Kumar is willing to try anything in the name of beauty and wellness (at least once).
1:44 AM. My eyes pop open.
This has been happening a lot over the past few months.
I've never been one to have sleep problems, but “Life In The Time of COVID” is anything but typical. Between home schooling (gratefully over for the semester), over stimulation from multiple screens (five hours of daily Zoom calls with a dash of Netflix and nonstop Instagram scrolling anyone? Pro tip: Don’t watch Ozark right before bed.), and general anxiety about the state of the world...throw in a clingy 10 year old who most nights is crawling in bed with me, well let's just say if I am getting a few hours of sleep in a row on any given night, it is a bit of a miracle.
I decided now was as good a time as any to overhaul my sleep routine. First order of business: Rid my room of any unnecessary technology.
Leaving my computer and phone out of the bedroom might seem like an obvious start but I'm very reliant on my phone as an alarm clock. I've searched for years for a non startling clock to gently rouse me from my slumber — clocks that mimic the sunrise with bird chirping sounds, old school alarm clocks, etc. Nothing has been quite right.
So instead, I started setting my phone to grayscale screen and "do not disturb" after 10:45 PM. It is amazing how this simple action made such a huge difference and helped me resist the temptation for a late night Instagram scroll. All those photos of my friends’ dinners and skin care routines are far less interesting when rendered in black and white.
Next up: Creating a nightly routine. For me, this involved sitting on the couch with a cup of either Pukka Night Time tea, EVOLUTION_1818 Relaxing Vanilla (it tastes like cake batter, which does double duty of helping address a late night sugar craving), or a glass of water with a few drops of The Nue Co. Sleep Drops, depending on my mood. According to their labels, all of these products are formulated to support sleep, but it was the simple act of making a small cup of something and stopping everything else to sit and take a few sips that appealed to me. It forced me to put the books and computers away and make my way to bed.
Once in bed, I have a couple of new companions: some crystals and a weighted blanket. The folks at Energy Muse suggested I try selenite — specifically two selenite crystal harmonizers which “work to clear and calm the mind, body and spirit and prepare you for sleep by releasing all chaotic or negative energy.” It is recommended that you hold one of the harmonizers in each hand for 11 minutes as you breathe before you go to sleep. I did that while listening to a four-minute Deepak Chopra guided sleep meditation Zia and I found on YouTube. The first time we tried it, we both got super quiet while listening to the meditation and I was sure Zia would start giggling the second the tape ended. Silence. She was snoring. Loudly.
I guess my new routine was working for one of us, at least.
So I pulled on the weighted blanket. The Gravity Blanket is meant to simulate the feeling of “being held” using the “power of weight to relax the nervous system.” I was worried it would feel like I was trapped under the weight, especially as the weather got warmer, so I opted for the 15 pound blanket which is the lightest option. It does shift sometimes in the middle of the night since I tend to toss around a bit (hi, Ozark-related nightmares!) and it can be hard to get back on since it is heavy, especially when you are half asleep. But the blanket provides a gentle even pressure across your body and somehow worked to help get me back to sleep faster when I did wake up. I can’t explain it but I LOVE this blanket. Even if I can’t sleep, it calms me down and makes me feel like I am getting some rest.
Plus, Deepak Chopra said in his melodic voice in the YouTube meditation that even if you aren’t sleeping, if you lay super still your body is still getting the rest you need. I am not sure if that is actually true, but in these times, I guess I will take what I can get.