The weird things I do for better sleep

Bed butter is a thing.

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Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash
  1. Bed butter. Okay, bed butter is just the gross nickname a friend of mine came up for it, but what it actually means is this: taking a spoonful of almond butter immediately before bedtime (it can also be coconut oil) — and keeping it by your bed and taking a spoonful again in case you wake up in the middle of the night. Apparently it can be very common — especially if you have stress and a poor-ish diet — to have blood sugar surges and crashes throughout the night that can wake you up and make it difficult to go back to sleep, so having almond butter or coconut oil to level out your blood sugar through the night is a good idea. I have found this extremely effective for me, personally.
  2. Electronic screens. In addition to regular overhead/lamp light that could be disrupting your sleep, of course, of COURSE, screen light is ruining your sleep. I installed Flux on both my iPhone and laptop.
  3. Planning REM cycles. I use religiously to help me figure out what time I need to be falling asleep based on whatever time I need to wake up.
  4. Lavender oil and magnesium spray on my feet. The lavender smells great and is super relaxing, and magnesium spray is said to be helpful with sleep, for uh, … science reasons (I AM NOT A DOCTOR). In any case, it just feels good and calm and ritualistic to spray these things on the soles of my feet before bed and rub them together.
  5. A good smell. I burn my favorite incense starting an hour or two before I need to go to sleep. I’m convinced it sets off something in my brain that says it’s time to chill out and get ready for bed.
  6. Sleep meditations & hypnosis tracks. I’m a big fan of Andrew Johnson’s and Michael Sealey’s sleep meditation and hypnosis. Who knows if the hypnosis part of them works, but I know I am OUT in like 5 minutes when I pop these in my earbuds, both of them have voices that are like liquid Xanax.
  7. A sunrise light alarm. The best thing I did for my sleep in the last year was to buy this alarm clock that wakes me up with a gentle light and sounds of nature. Previously I used a jarring analog alarm that would scream me awake until I found it, slapped snooze on it, and threw it against the wall repeatedly. This one is so gentle and soft.
  8. The concept of ‘good enough’ sleep. In June I wrote about the concept of the “good enough [fill in the blank].” Guys, it turns out I have a pediatric sleep psychologist and an assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Lynelle Schneeberg, reading this newsletter (COOL?!), and she wrote letting me know about the concept of “good enough sleep.” We all think eight hours is the must, but she said as long as you’re getting around five, that’s two full REM cycles, and that is probably “good enough” — so hopefully letting you relax a little bit around getting “perfect” sleep every night. (Dr. Schneeberg also just released a book about all of her wonderful tips on getting children ages 3–10 to sleep and sent it to me and it’s SO smart, any parents out there should absolutely get it.)

Teaching awakening + healing through vulnerability + self-compassion. Finding hope in a messy world. Author of the Sunday Soother.

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