I am the definition of a morning person. If you've ever hung out with me in the morning, you know I'm a ball of sunshine. Unfortunately, I am also a historically poor sleeper. I sleep light, it takes me a long time to fall asleep and sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and not be able to get back to sleep. (I call this "sleep working" and I am not fond of it!). With all the stresses that come with modern life, I think we can all agree a good night's sleep is hard to come by.
Still, I love mornings so much that I've had to be really intentional my whole life to manage my sleep. I've been thinking a lot lately about the things that help me sleep deeper, wake up earlier and feel the most refreshed, so I thought I would share some of the them here. And please, let's swap tips because this has been a life long pursuit for me!
The art of winding down
I find that if I set aside a little time to wind down at the end of the day, I will sleep so much better. I actually have ADD which means my brain goes a mile a minute, all day long. It makes creative work very fun! And it helps me to manage a bunch of projects at once because I tend to get into what's called hyper focus and the ideas start flowing. But working for myself and loving my work so much makes it difficult to turn my mind off at the end of the work day. That's when it becomes a problem. I really value work/life balance, and we try really hard to make that a part of our culture so we can avoid burnout and continue loving what we do. Because of this, I purposefully set aside some time each night just to wind down. Here are some of the things I do.
I love a good bath ritual. I mentioned this in one of my previous blog posts, the idea of hydrotherapy as self care. Obviously I do not have a bathtub on the boat, but that's a solid 80% of the reason why I have a membership at Olympic Athletic Club. They have a luxurious locker room with a steam room, sauna, and hot tub, and it is hands down my favorite way to relax. The classes and weights are just a bonus 😉 It's right around the corner from our store, and I've been a member there for like five years now. When Eco Collective was just starting and I couldn't afford it anymore, I actually worked the front desk for a couple of months to keep my membership! Sadly, I haven't been since before COVID, and I miss it dearly.
If you live in a house with a bathtub, I envy you! I just gifted my sister some CBD bath bombs that are ultra relaxing, and I am forever in search of hydrotherapy.
Nothing helps me wind down more than getting lost in a good book. Preferably a hard cover instead of a tablet, but when I do choose something digital, I try to remember to wear blue light glasses and keep my device on night mode to make sure the blue light doesn't keep me awake. Right now, I'm reading Turtles All the Way Down and about to start the Vanishing Half with my book club. And funnily enough, I just downloaded a summary of the book Why We Sleep. I'll keep you guys posted...
A glass of wine
Okay fine, more than one. I love a good Sangiovese or Malbec and wine can be a really enjoyable way to wind down. At the end of the work day, I usually try to put away my laptop, go for a walk with Jarod and Drifter to decompress, and then we enjoy a little local wine or beer. Our favorites are Cave B Winery which is out in the Vantage area where we climb, and Wilridge Winery which has super sustainable biodynamic wine. I don't know if they're still doing it with COVID, but they used to offer refillable wine! You can go down to the Ballard Farmer's Market and pick up one of their Maison wine bottles and when you're done, they'll take the bottle back to clean and reuse. Is that zero waste or what??
A good night's sleep
My husband and I have been totally hooked on the sleep gummies we carry from Herbaland. They work so well! We take two a night, and trust me, the 30 day jar goes pretty fast between the two of us. They have melatonin, but they also have L-Theanine and B6 and lemon balm, which promote calmness and a higher quality sleep. Within about 20 minutes, we start to feel sleepy and we both say we sleep harder when we take them. The gummies are also meant to reset your sleep/wake cycle, so you don't become dependent on them. We take one if we're wide awake, but if we're feeling naturally tired, we'll skip them. Added treat: they're jasmine flavored.
If I'm having trouble falling asleep, I've got an arsenal of things I try - warm chamomile tea, a cool blanket on my feet, or white noise from a fan. If it's really bad, I'll listen to some music through my headphones. It's the quickest thing to make me feel less restless and fall back asleep. I've also heard great things about headspace sleep stories and weighted blankets... You have to let me know if you've tried them!
Lately, I've been keeping my phone in another room altogether so I don't feel tempted to check Instagram or read my emails and get my mind going again. I keep a notebook on my bedside shelf so that when I do start "sleep working," I can write down my ideas, think about something more peaceful and fall into a deeper sleep. I've actually kept a pen and paper by my bed since I was a teenager - it's funny, I really have been this way my whole life. I think my mom does this too.
A big thing my herbalist taught me is to stop eating and drinking at a certain time so you don't stimulate your digestion, which can cause heartburn or just keep your body systems from getting the deep rest they need. I never drink kombucha after 6 o'clock and I try not to eat anything after 8 although I'm not perfect in this. It also helps to hydrate earlier in the day so that your bladder doesn't wake you up in the middle of the night.
I have heard that going to bed and waking up at the same time every day goes a long way for improving sleep quality and overall energy, but I have yet to master that, or even try it, so let's not pretend that's part of my routine. Something to aspire to!
Waking up refreshed
The #1 thing that helps me wake up energized is my light alarm clock!!! The rainy Seattle weather does not make me want to get out of bed, and neither does the cold. Did you know that your body will naturally wake up easier if you can raise the temperature of your room just before your alarm goes off? We like to sleep with our windows open even in the winter, but what does help me is having a heater on a timer and a happy lamp as my alarm. This is the sun lamp alarm clock I have. I bought mine on Facebook marketplace, upgrading from an older version, and there were a ton when I looked!
The moment I wake up, I ask myself what I'm grateful for that day. It sets such a lovely tone to my morning. I also try to make plans to make a delicious breakfast or read my book or do some yoga, generally something that will make me excited to get up.
Once I've brushed my teeth and put in my contacts, I drink some warm lemon water and take my CBD gummies. (I choose that brand because they do a lot of work to reform criminal justice and they pay for some one's bail every month) The time between waking up and finishing my coffee is free to do whatever feels good in the moment. Workout, go for a walk, call my grandmothers, watch Magnolia TV or an inspiring TED talk. I also love podcasts because there's always something new and interesting.
That's it, that's a little window into my sleep routine and what I do to wind down, sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed! I hope this was helpful and interesting to you guys. Let me know what you want to see more of on the blog in terms of wellness, skincare, hair care and home goods. Thanks for reading!