3 Things You Can Do To Sleep Better TONIGHT.

For the past 7 nights I’ve slept better than I have in months!  These are the 3 things I’ve changed about my bedtime routine (which I never would have believed could have such a profound effect on my sleep).


Skip right to the sleeping tips!

My super-relentless anxiety for absolutely no reason is much better, thank you very much! But it’s not gone.  I know this because even if I feel O.K. in the day, my sleeping is a disaster. I don’t fall asleep as quickly as I used to and once I do fall asleep that’s when I Cirque de Soleil my way through the night.  I stretch, flip, somersault and bounce around my bed for the next 7 or 8 hours at which point I take a bow, roll out of the bed and crash land on the floor.  Ready for a new day.

I should mention that I’ve always been a champion sleeper once I go to bed.  I hate going to bed, because there are so many other more interesting things to do than sleep including (but not limited to) cleaning the fridge, rearranging bookshelves, building a tennis racket,  looking out the window for changes in weather and Googling how to curl my hair.  Once I’m in bed though? I’m dead to the world.

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But when I developed anxiety a month or so ago my Sleeping Beauty nights were over.


And as you can see, I am a beauty when I sleep.

I started waking up every hour or so and the times in between when I was sleeping I wasn’t in a deep sleep. I was somewhere in between being asleep and performing a trapeze act.  CBD oil does help but it hasn’t got me back to my regular zonked out sleep schedule.

So I started looking for answers from my friends, family and the big, bad Internet.  First up?  A Sleepy Time Tea recommendation from my sister Fish Pedicure.  I can tell you that telling someone who is having trouble sleeping to throw back a big cup of tea half an hour before bedtime is a cruel joke.  At least this time when I woke up an hour after going to bed it was for a valid reason.  Plus since I was awake and up for a few minutes I was able to look out the window and check the weather.

Sleepy Time Tinkle Tea was not the cure to my fitful sleeping.  But these 3 things combined, were.


3 Things That Will Improve Your Sleep.


 

Magnesium

 

200 mg of Magnesium just before I go to bed.  Magnesium is one of those HEY, I CAN DO EVERYTHING minerals, which of course, immediately made me suspicious of it.  Like clothing that’s “one size fits all”.

All Magnesium isn’t created equal.  Magnesium can make you poop.  And give you stomach cramps. And sometimes barf.  You want Magnesium Glycinate.  It’s more expensive and harder to find than regular Magnesium. Try the organic section or a health food store if your regular drug store or grocery store doesn’t have it.

The other Magnesiums (aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride) are more difficult to absorb and not as gentle on your guts.  Magnesium oxide and Magnesium sulfate are even worse.

Take 200 mg of Magnesium Glycinate around 20 minutes before you go to bed. It doesn’t just help you get to sleep, it helps you stay there.


 

Eliminate Blue Light

 

Get RID of the blue light in your life after dark – cell phones, tablets, laptops … all of it.  Now. Let’s not get crazy. I’m not talking about shoving everything in a drawer once the sun sets and spending the entire night not knowing what’s going on with that person you’ve never met on Instagram.

You just need to change the light they emit from blue to amber.

Blue light isn’t all bad, it does a great job of waking you up.  Which exactly what you don’t want  at night.  So how do you get rid of the blue light but still keep up with the Kardashians?

Enable the Night Shift mode on your Mac products or Night Light on your Android.

Here’s how to do it on your iPhone or iPad.

Settings > Display > Night Shift.


The directions are similar for your Android device. Go to Settings > Display > Night Light.

Enabling night mode on your electronics will turn the blue light on your devices to amber as soon as it starts getting dark out.  You can set a custom time for the night feature to start at or just set the phone to Sunset to Sunrise and it will automatically turn amber once the sun goes down.

When you’re fiddling around on your tablet or phone tonight take the time to go into your settings and change it.  At night you’ll get a really good idea of how startling the blue light is once you change it to amber. It takes a little while to get used to it but it’s almost immediately calming to switch it to amber.

There are also apps you can download that do the same thing if you have a computer or tablet or phone that doesn’t have this option.

Televisions are also blue light but they aren’t quite as bad because they’re much further away from your eyes.  But turning off the television an hour before you go to bed will help your sleep cycle even more.


 

DON’T Turn the Lights Out When You’re Falling Asleep.

 

Beautiful rumpled linen bedding from Rough Linen

Hear me out.

Reading before bed is something I’ve done since I was a kid and I *know* it helps me fall asleep.  I could fall asleep while being shot out of a cannon if I had a book handy.

Just reading wasn’t enough for me through this recent sleep debacle though. So I started doing something I recommended a friend do YEARS ago when she was having trouble sleeping. When I’m in bed reading and feel myself starting to fall asleep, I DON’T TURN MY LIGHT OUT.

I now let myself read until I literally fall asleep. I just let my mouth hang open, the book drop and have at it.  I have my bedside lamp on a timer so I don’t need to worry about turning it off.  (These are the Kasa wireless smart plugs I use.)

The reason I do this is because I can be so close to falling asleep that I’m doing the head nod thing, but once I shift around, put the book away and turn my light off I’ve missed the moment and can’t get to sleep.

This routine eliminates that problem.


The first  night I tried this combo and it worked I couldn’t even WAIT to go to bed again to see if it was just a fluke or if it would work again. It worked again. I’m officially retiring from Cirque.

I do a few other things when I go to bed and I’ve been doing them for years. I …

  • Keep a bottle of lavender linen spray by the bed and spray my sheets every night before getting into bed.
  • Set my Google Home up to automatically play my favourite Classical music station for an hour while I’m reading and falling asleep.
  • Take 3-5  sleeping pills.  Just kidding.

Adding the 3 new things to my regular nighttime routine has me sleeping well through the night. I’m stunned. It all seems so wishy washy and exactly the sort of thing I’d read about and scoff at. I’d probably throw in an eye roll for good measure too.  So if you’ve been doing that throughout this post don’t you worry about it. I get it. And in fact this might not work for you.  On the other hand … it might. So if you too put on a circus show every night, pop a magnesium, ditch the blue light and set your bedside light up on a timer.

If all else fails and you still can’t sleep?  Clean the fridge.

Have a good weekend!

 
 
 

 

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69 Comments

  1. Angie says:

    Another plus for the Magnesium Glycinate is that it also helps restless legs.

    • LiDups says:

      Really?? Truly?? Please let it be true! My husband runs bed marathons 3/4’s of the night lol If it’s not constant leg swishing, it’s interval leg jerks, tack, tack, tack, tack…every 30-45 seconds for 1 hour or so. I am a great sleeper when he isn’t in bed yet but his legs are killing my deep sleep lol! What dose are you using?

      • SuzNKton says:

        There is a magnesium spray available as well! It is fantastic for restless leg syndrome! I got it for my son’s adhd and discovered after that it helps for many other things.

    • Ellen says:

      I’ve suffered from RLS forever! It can also be related to anemia so I take a vegan iron supplement. Vegan because all the other ones made me sick.

      • SuzNKton says:

        Wait. Does it eliminate the intestinal issues related to taking iron supplements? I always start to take the iron then on about day 5 give up because it causes so much discomfort!

        • Renee Ryz says:

          There is an easier to absorb iron that is gentler on your tummy. My mom had severe anemia, and ulcers, and was taking this and never had a tummy ache. It is a bit pricier, but worth it.
          feosol bifera hip & pic. It has different iron than most and absorbs better too.

    • Thera says:

      And for immediate or extra relief use Vick’s Vapour Rub on calves and/or thighs

    • Dianne says:

      Wow-can’t wait to try it.

  2. Michelle Elsten says:

    Great tips. I’m definitely going to try them as I am an insufferable insomniac. May I ak what your favorite classical station is?

  3. Yyzguy says:

    I’ve tried many things, but not magnesium glycinate. Will definitely check it out. I’ve been an zolpidem (Ambien) person for years but it’s probably not the best answer

    A podcaster I listen to has a formula that he swears by and has some research to go with it. It didn’t work for me, but many of his listeners report good results so here’s a link for you and your readers to check out

    https://www.grc.com/health/sleep/healthy_sleep_formula.htm

    • Karen says:

      I think the trick is to find what works for you and generally it’s probably going to be a combination of a few things as opposed to one thing. ~ karen!

  4. Amanda says:

    I take Magnesium Orotate which was recommended by my acupuncturist and is super gentle on the tummy. Sleep has been divine since I started taking it. I bought a huge bottle because I never want to live without it, now that I know the difference!

  5. Bev says:

    I will try the magnesium- the one I tried sent me running to the toilet like a tiger was after me at regular interval all the next day..I will keep it handy though in case I ever feel the need to do a cheap colon cleanse. 😂😂 I had forgotten the joys of reading in bed.. now there’s a thing! Thanks 🌹

  6. Kris says:

    Obviously an insomniac, since I’m commenting at 1:30 a.m. , I’ve taken sleeping medication for years after dealing with ovarian cancer. I started listening to the ‘Calm’ app and couldn’t believe how it helped me fall asleep without meditation. Give it a try, along with your other great suggestions. I’ll bump up my magnesium at night too.
    Thanks for the tips!

    • Cheryl says:

      I second the Calm app. I love, love, love it! I prefer the deep sleep release segments, and I think I’m out in 5 minutes.

  7. Georgia Girl says:

    It’s 1:50 a.m.
    I’m hoping I will be lucky tonight and fall asleep before 3 and stay there for more than a couple hours. Thank goodness I am retired and don’t have to get up early.
    I’ve used every sleeping potion known to medicine. But not that variety of magnesium. Also done that thing with turning out the 💡 and missed the window of sleep opportunity. I’m getting a timer and the magnesium. Thank you Karen!

    • Karen says:

      The light thing really does help. If you happen to use any sort of house assistant like Google Home or Alexa and get a wifi timer you can also quietly say “turn bedroom light off” as you’re falling asleep without moving. Even that will sometimes wake me up though. ~ karen!

  8. Sam C. says:

    I’ve had trouble as well getting to sleep and staying asleep on a daily basis for quite a while now and about 3 months ago I discovered a “Sleep Tea” made by Davidson Organic Tea Company that has been a lifesaver for me. This company handles everything from growing to the selling and shipping all organic certified teas, they sell a couple hundred teas at least – lots of Ayurvedic blends. This blend is pleasant and works great. Here’s the link in case you or any of your subscriber’s might be interested in any teas they sell. It’s worth a try!
    https://www.davidsonstea.com/Ayurvedic_Infusions_Sleep_Loose_Leaf.aspx

  9. Jennifer says:

    I use Magnesium in a topical cream, which eliminates some of the stomach issues you and others have mentioned. This company is local to me and I have several of her products and love them all.

    https://www.nourishednaturalselfcare.com/relieve–relax-magnesium-cream.html

  10. Marna says:

    Some great ideas, thanks! 🙂

  11. Kirsten says:

    So the thing I got out of that article was that you have smart plugs!!! I feel for you about the insomnia and I suffer as well, I will try the magnesium. Let’s get back to smart plugs……. PLEASE will you do an article about them and Alexa too if your using her as well? We have two Alexas (gifts) and never use them. I would love to hook up the coffee machine and yell at Alexa in the morning to get it started while I’m still languishing in bed. I am lost when it comes to how to pick out the devices that will work best with her??
    Thanks in advance if you decide this topic is worth an article.

    • Debbie says:

      I use my smart plugs and Alexa daily. I have Alexa hooked up with my smart plug so all I have to do is say, “Alexa turn off (whatever I have named that light) and out it goes. You can also have her turn on the light as well. I then ask Alexa to play rain sounds (app for Alexa) and a gentle rain sound starts and I am out in less than five minutes. If I want to change it up, I can have Alexa play my “sleep music” as well. I just love my Alexa! BTW, she sings songs and tells great “g” rated groaner jokes as well. She gives me my news flash in the morning, the weather, updates me on the latest music, gives me a daily meditation and zen quote, etc.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kirsten. I actually did do a post on my Google home a while ago. My goal is to create an entire smart house out of plugs and Google devices, lol. Here’s the post that might help you a bit. https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/a-beginners-guide-to-home-assistants-google-home-amazon-alexa-etc/ ~ karen!

  12. Sandra Lea says:

    If nothing else, I found comfort in reading this post and all its comments. It validates my own sleep issues. Definitely going to try everyone’s suggestions, keep them coming.

  13. Kelly Mudry says:

    curious if anyone has tried this — apparently based on scientific research — and whether it actually seems to work?
    https://www.mydodow.com/dodow/en-ca/home

    • Karen says:

      I have no idea if it would work, but breathing techniques absolutely do work. So it’s likely it could help if you aren’t able to meditate on your own (that’s basically what the machine is doing – a guided meditation). ~ karen!

  14. Ann Roberts says:

    Thanks for the hint about our phones. I am sure it adds to my problems falling asleep.

    Magnesium malate is another form of magnesium the body readily absorbs and doesn’t cause the GI upset thing. I do much better with it than the glycinate form. And easier to find

    One thing that can really affect sleep quality is temperature. Guess our core body temp needs to fall some for us to fall asleep. But it is our head temperature that supposedly makes the most difference. The military did a study using the cool caps they also use during chemotherapy and it increased the likelyhood that a person will wall asleep fast and deep. I am considering investing in a new cool technology pillow. I have found that I have the worst trouble sleeping during the summer and slowly as spring works it’s way thru to warmer nights I can just feel the problem build. What they need to develop and market is a home cool cap!!

    • Linda says:

      This is interesting to me. Every night I put peppermint oil on my forehead and back of my neck. It has a cooling sensation and can help with headaches . I do it because I like they way it feels, but maybe there is a scientific reason I like it so much. I do sleep well most nights. Hmmmm….

    • SuzNKton says:

      I bought these pillowcases with “silver ” thread for sweaty heads….they really work, though I don’t know how.

    • Jo-Ann says:

      I too would Love to know more about cool caps and cooling pillows that Actually work at night to keep my head cool. Cannot afford an air conditioner and am really fearing the looming summer. Add menopausal hot flashes/night sweats to that and I’m just a bit desperate.

      • Marianne says:

        I found a super product several years ago that has helped enormously with the nighttime hot flashes. It’s called ChiliPad (google it – they have a web site), and it’s basically a mattress pad with small tubing running all through it, and it connects to a little machine that will heat or cool depending on what you tell it to do. I heat mine up about an hour before bed so it’s warm and cozy when I get in, and then immediately dial it down to about 55-60 degrees for sleeping. It’s not cheap – I bought the twin size one for my king bed since hubby doesn’t need it, so that helped. SO worth it to get better sleep!

  15. Terri says:

    I also recommend getting a body pillow. I’m a side sleeper and using that so your knees dont knock together and you can scrunch it up to hug. A big plus to help me sleep. Just get a cheap one, not to bulky.

  16. Deborah says:

    Just read this post. Changed my phone settings, ordered a plug and magnesium……can’t wait for bed!

    You make me laugh out loud!! Thanks.

  17. Myra says:

    When I was in university we had to read Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes. I swear, I could not make it through more than a page of that book without falling asleep.

    When I had trouble sleeping in my early 30s, I remembered this and dug out the book. Within ONE PARAGRAPH I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

    I’ve misplaced the book somewhere in my house, but now I just search for the book online and read a sentence or two any time my brain won’t turn off for the night. Problem solved! (Sorry, Hobbes.)

    Try it!

  18. LiDups says:

    Karen are you still including the CBD oil in your nightly routine? (Great article btw! I still am a ‘champion’ sleeper, well other than when my husband’s restless legs start, then I’m up contemplating if our marriage is worth it 😜…but this article will certainly be shared with at least 4 people I know, hopefully they can find some sleep filled night going forward!

  19. Marilyn Meagher says:

    I’m going to try these. I too am a member of the cirque club. And the restless legs!, OMG. The worst. Thanks Karen.

  20. I feel my circus career may be careening off the rails soon. Trying this tonight!

  21. Caroline Beattie says:

    I do the book thing! It drives my partner crazy because I fall asleep with my glasses on, the book god-knows-where in our bed, and the light still on, but it is the only reliable way for me to avoid that icky “I’m tired but can’t sleep” feeling.

  22. judy says:

    The New Classical FM with Marilyn Lightstone. What serendipity,Like many residents of my Country we live in a state of uneasiness and concern,finding this wonderful Lady and her song -“The light that shines all over the world” was so freeing. Hearing the words and her lovely voice gave me such a sense of relief and hope that there is a universal light of goodness in people and bad situations eventually change for the better. Thanks for your light and the nice people who follow you. You are needed.

  23. Dave R. says:

    THC oil is about the only thing that lets me sleep through the night. A friend made some brownies and they do the trick too. I’ve got some edibles arriving today.

  24. Lesley says:

    Perfect timing. I spent a horrendous night at a sleep clinic in December, on a Murphy bed mattress that was simultaneously too this and too saggy, in a too-warm room in a hospital basement with an enormous air processor running constantly on the other side of the wall. I received the report yesterday. It basically consisted of “we didn’t see any signs of sleep apnea, but we can’t be certain because you only slept 57.5 minutes out of 7 hours, in teeny tiny increments, so we consider the test to be a failure”. On Monday I get to drive an hour to the clinic AGAIN and cough up $400 cash (can’t process debit or credit at the sleep clinic!) to collect home sleep test equipment which may, or may not, tell me more. I get to drive it back to the clinic the following Monday and then wait 4-6 weeks for results.

    Well, that’s my daily quota of whingeing covered. I had no idea my MacBook had a night setting, and I’m going out to buy Magnesium glyconate today.

  25. Sandra Blennerhassett says:

    Hi, not relevant to sleeping -But I love the first picture of the bedroom with the old bed, wood floors and modern accessories! So interesting.

  26. Lynn says:

    Chocolate has magnesium in it, too. I’m a big fan of plain, unsweetened coco and milk in the microwave before bed. Sometimes I splurge and add heavy cream or coconut oil, or some mix of cinnamon and other spices. But it’s hard to go wrong with hot chocolate!

    On a different note, a lot of my sleep deprivation issues went away after starting up with a chiropractor. What he showed me on my xrays stunned me, but when I thought about the persistent little aches and pains I’ve had over the years it all made sense. For me most of the problem was persistent neck tension which left me feeling permanently partially asphyxiated in the brain. Now that most of that is “straightened out”, the side effects of bad sleep are almost gone.

    Good luck finding your sleepy, happy place!

  27. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    The Amazon link you provide shows the product as $136.99 for 1 plug, so I wouldn’t recommend anyone to buy from that link. Search for the product instead.

    These look like a great invention, but everything I read so far is that they only work on a 2.4 G network. They won’t work with 5G or a dual system. I have found this with other manufacturers, not just this one. This is very disappointing. Can I assume you have a 2.4 network or are they wrong (🤞🏻) and they do work with dual or 5G?

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. I’m not sure. I have a dual system, but I really do find the 2.4 is more stable in general and I use it way more. Having said that, I just did a test on my 5G network and the plug worked fine. 🙂 I turned it off and on from my phone with no problem. ~ karen!

  28. Heather says:

    Thanks, Karen! I love the tip about using a timer on the light, because you are so right: I’m nodding off reading but the little routine of putting away the book and turning out the light is usually enough to wake me enough so that I can’t fall asleep.

  29. Jacquie Gariano says:

    Great tips from you all as usual. I take Magnesium nightly with 500mg Calcium. It really helps me fall asleep and stay asleep. I also am a bed time reader and probably couldn’t fall asleep without it. The mag and calcium has also helped my restless leg problem sooooo much.

  30. Vikki says:

    I’m almost 80 and just got an Alexa and two Dots. Still in the learning-curve stage but enjoying all it can do. I, too, am tired of being regarded as brain dead because of my age. Loved this quote when I saw it:
    “I try to be patient when showing my Mom how to use a computer. After all, she once showed me how to use a spoon.”

    • Susan G says:

      That’s lovely Vicki. I need to remember that.

    • Marianne says:

      You rock Vikki! 🙂 That quote is wonderful – I had literally just txt’d my son a computer question about two minutes before reading it, so of course I had to send him the quote as well.

  31. Monique says:

    Just put a timer and ordered the magnesium.
    Hopeful.

  32. Andrea says:

    Dear Smart Person, aka Karen, thank you for these common-sense ideas. Just put my bedside light on a timer and reset my laptop and phone displays.

    FYI, my own experimentation with insomnia has led me to the realization that getting my sorry @ss out of bed at the same early-ish time every day helps me build up nighttime sleepiness. So even on the nights when I can’t/don’t fall asleep at my normal time, I try not to let myself justifying sleeping in the next morning. Working on it. I’m definitely not a morning person, and a flexible schedule means I could sometimes sleep later… but if I indulge my vampiric biorhythms even a bit, it’s usually only a few days before I’m up all night and sleeping till 1 pm.

  33. Catheriene says:

    I find the combination of a white noise machine and Sleep Well from the Saje store work very well, and of course chamomile tea in the evening. I found also even the small amount of light from my clock radio was enough to keep me awake or wake me up as well, so I now have placed a framed photo in front of it. I used to take a good night’s sleep for granted, not any more!

  34. I too, thanks to you Karen, have ordered the plugs and magnesium (my iPhone was already set to night) because I feel : The Great OZ Has Spoken ahahahahah…..Aside from the most grounded yet hilarious, truthful and relevant blog writing I have ever encountered, you are a very cool person.

  35. May I suggest you try a good Homeopath. I found one and she’s had me sleeping like a baby for the past ten years. Have a look in the website box to see who’s in your area.
    Homeopathy works by causing your immune system to kick into gear and heal whatever ails your ailing corpse, whether physical, mental, emotional… it’s an amazing science… and there are no side effects from prescribed meds… cause you don’t take any… just the remedy to wake up a targeted part of your immune system.

  36. Bruce says:

    Hi Karen,
    Love your blog. I wanted to share what is helping my wife at this time.
    First, we purchased a new Sleep Number bed which we both like. However, on her side, we added a pad (kind of pricey) that can cool or heat up to 10 degrees from what your room temp is. It’s similar to your car seat with perfirated holes and a quiet pump. She LOVES this thing!
    Secondly, our son bought her a weighted blanket. It took a couple of nights for her to get use to it but she is sleeping better than ever. Happy wife is a happy life!
    I will also pass on your tips as i think the phone adjustment is legit.
    Thanks,
    Bruce

  37. Jill says:

    I even have a pair of “sleeping glasses” for the final tip. and I read with a kindle paperwhite so that the light’s not on. It’s not blue light like a tablet screen. I’ll try the magnesium.

  38. Kat says:

    Magnesium glycinate is amazing! I’ve been taking the CanPrev brand for 10 years now.
    If you take it on a daily basis it also helps with migraines.
    Magnesium and ginger(also helps with sleep and migraines!) tea are a part of my daily bedtime ritual.
    It’s also amazing for relaxing muscle spasms, too. I just take an extra dose if i am having spasms. Absolutely my favourite supplement!
    Listening to guided meditations, cbd + thc and diffusing essential oils are also in my sleep tool box.

  39. SHERRY ANNE says:

    Hi Karen,
    Just tried Magnesium glycinate-sleep is amazing!!!
    Which bed cover (from rough linen) is on your bed-it appears to have a blue tinge in the picture?
    Thanks,Sherry

  40. Jane C. says:

    I had a terrible time falling asleep, and staying asleep, for years, partly due to depression. I began taking Melatonin, 5 mg., two hours before I go to bed (or whenever I remember). One thing about it – when you first start, you will have VERY VIVID dreams for a few nights until your body gets used to it. I would suggest starting at 3 mg. and see if that works.
    Now I’m often asleep within minutes, and pretty much dead to the world.

    • Katrina says:

      I’m surprised no one else mentioned melatonin. That stuff is great! And safe too. You could take big ol handfuls of it and not suffer anything other than a headache the next day. I take anywhere between 5mg and 30mg depending on how much insurance I want that I’ll get to sleep and stay there. Never noticed vivid dreams though.

  41. Dianne says:

    Karen, Thank you for the tips and Angie for her RLS comment. I hope to join the sleep well club using your suggestions along with my CBD tincture.

  42. Phyllis Kraemer says:

    If my bedroom looked as calming and beautiful as yours…I would probably be asleep in seconds. Something to work towards I guess. Love it!!

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