“Girl, Wash Your Face” is a bestselling self-help book about being narcissistic and shamelessly self-promotional, under the guise of pseudo-spirituality, in order to achieve materialistic— oh, sorry, I went off-script. Let me try again. “Girl, Wash Your Face” is a bestselling self-help book about how you can do anything, yay!! As we continue to use basic hygiene as a metaphor, let’s make the case for “Girl, Go to Bed”!
Do you feel like you are chronically sleep deprived? Are you afraid that you will not be able to repay that sleep debt if you continue to spend time unwisely? Do I sound like an infomercial trying to make you feel bad about your situation in life so that I can sell something? Well, um, nothing to sell here, just the truth. You really should go to bed on time. Not because of self-empowerment, but because… bed.
According to statistics, 60% of women regularly don’t get enough sleep (they should be getting seven to nine hours). Maybe it’s because we’re all so obsessed with being productive and we have so many tasks on our to-do lists. In which case, maybe it’s time to start considering “sleep” as a high-priority item that gets crossed off daily.
45 percent of Americans report that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities. 35 percent indicate that their sleep quality is “poor” or “only fair.” Moreover, 20 percent of Americans reported that they did not wake up feeling refreshed.
But how can we get that elusive, good night’s sleep? For people with insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, quality sleep might be a mythical creature they don’t even see in their dreams. Add anxiety or stress on top of that and you’re likely to end up groggy.
Dozens, maybe hundreds, of articles have already taught us that it’s important to have a routine during this quarantine. Well, maybe some of these new routines should include “sleep hygiene.” These are a set of different practices that will help you get that good night’s sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation has a set of recommendations for better sleep.
1. Be the Queen of Naptime
They suggest putting time limits on daytime naps to prevent sleep inertia, a physiological state of impaired cognitive and sensory-motor performance that is present immediately after awakening. Using human language, napping more than half an hour will make you feel, ironically, tired and groggy. Your reaction time will increase but attentiveness will drop. However, a short nap in the sweet spot of 20-30 minutes can help improve your performance, alertness, and even mood. It is often called a “power nap.” Remember, though, napping cannot make up for insufficient sleep at night.
2. Girl, Stop Drugging Yourself Up at Your Local Starbucks
Avoid stimulants like caffeine or nicotine when it’s getting closer to bedtime. Don’t eat heavy or rich food – anything fatty, fried, or spicy. It can cause heartburn and will disrupt your sleep.
3. Make the Gym Equipment Fear You
Maybe that sounds too intense. Anyway, even 10 minutes of cardio can drastically improve sleep quality. If you work your mind all day at the office, you should make sure you’re working your body out, too, so that all of you will reach that sleepy state at the right time. It’s recommended to avoid strenuous workouts when it’s getting close to bedtime.
4. Give Your Life Some Structure
Prepare yourself for bedtime by having a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Take a warm bath (or bubble bath), read a book, practice deep breathing or meditation. Such small rituals will help your body recognize that it is bedtime. I totally get that this might not sound practical if you have a busy schedule, demanding career, or kids running around, but try to carve out some self-care, transition time if possible.
5. Bedroom Engineering
Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a cool bedroom, between 60 and 67 degrees. Consider getting a comfortable mattress, pillows and bed sheets, blackout curtains or a sleep eye mask, ear plugs or “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans, and other devices that can make the bedroom more enjoyable.
Guess what? Celebrities are well-aware of all these hacks and are well-equipped, too.
Mariah Carey is a big fan of humidifiers. “Literally, I’ll have 20 humidifiers around my bed,” she said in a V magazine interview. “Basically, it’s like sleeping in a steam room.”
Oprah Winfrey told Harper’s Bazaar that at 9:30 pm, she has a bath before bed. “It’s a ritual,” she said. “I’m a bathing professional—I have different bubble baths, salts, beads, and oils.” For Oprah, this is also about gratitude:
She’s not the only celebrity who uses essential oils and salts after a stressful day. Wellness and self-proclaimed, self-care guru Gwyneth Paltrow is on the same page with Oprah.
“I take an Epsom salt bath every night to wind down,” Gwyneth said in an interview for Elle magazine. She added, “I use a lot of organic essential oils on my pressure points.”
In her book “Goop Clean Beauty,” Paltrow revealed that she keeps her bedroom technology-free. No laptops, phones or TV, in order to get that sacred “clean sleeping.” Goop gal needs “at least seven or eight hours of good, quality sleep, and ideally even 10.”
Vera Wang told Fortune that her bedroom is her sanctuary: “It’s like a refuge, and it’s where I do a fair amount of designing—at least conceptually, if not literally. I spread out on my side of the bed, and I may be looking at books to get ideas, or just thinking things through. Staffers send me stuff at home, and I always read it at night—the only time when seven people aren’t coming to me at once.”
Anyway, is it late right now? If so, why are you still reading this? Stop burning the midnight oil. Girl, go to bed!
At work? Broad daylight? Girl, go to bed later!