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Hit the pillow: Your guide to getting deep sleep every night


bed, sleep
Photo: StockSnap, Jay Mantri
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Between post-work spin classes, catch-ups with friends over dinner, and next-day meal prep, it can be hard to get in bed before the clock shifts from p.m. to a.m. (especially with all those new episodes of House of Cards on Netflix taunting you to stay up just one more hour).

But getting some solid shut-eye is necessary for far more than just energy levels. Your insides need the time to hit the refresh button, and without proper rest you can’t efficiently regulate the hormones that keep your body in check—studies even show that sleep deprivation can lead to overeating.

The benefits of regular ZZZs are so huge that there is now a market for better sleep products. As in, it’s not just Mom and Dad worrying that you’re not sleeping enough. So before you jump under the covers, treat yourself to some deep-sleep rituals.

Keep reading for our best tips for a long night of deep sleep—you’ll be dreaming of smoothie bowls and new workout gear in no time.

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1. Prep for bedtime all day long

“Prioritizing sleep really is a lifestyle choice,” says Intent.com founder Mallika Chopra. “I try and think of it holistically and prepare for it throughout the day.” That means infusing your waking hours with meditation, paying attention to what you eat (and when), and getting some pre-bedtime fresh air so that when you do finally hit the hay, you’re ready.

2. Set—and follow—a bedtime routine

A normal sleep schedule will set you up for quality sleep every night. Functional medicine expert Frank Lipman, MD, recommends easing your body into bedtime. “Turn down the bedroom lights an hour or so before lights out. Meditate or listen to calming classical music at low volume,” he suggests. “Take the time to slowly ‘power-down’ your mind and body so you can drift happily into the good sleep you deserve.”

3. Steep a cup of chamomile

“Making the time to have a cup of tea before bed eases us into a calm sleep,” says wellness guru Jim Nicolai, MD. Just beware of sugar and caffeine, which are stimulants and will press the snooze button on, well, snoozing. A simple cup of chamomile, or another herbal tea, should do the trick.

4. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Wellness expert Candice Kumai‘s secret to creating a sleep sanctuary? No electronic devices allowed. “It’s just books, magazines, a reading light, and lots of plants and fluffy pillows,” she tells us. “My bedroom is my sanctuary. I love it—it’s my safe spot and a haven for peace and meditation.” And we’d bet that when we put our phones away, there will be less sleep lost to endless scrolling through admittedly drool-worthy Instagram photos.

5. Detox while you sleep

Forget warm milk: A tall glass of juice could be just what you need to jump out the bed the next morning feeling like Super Woman (or maybe January Jones). Because while you’re asleep, your insides are hard at work. Juice guru Sarah Cadji of London juice bar Roots and Bulbs is a big proponent of fueling your body’s mid-ZZZs restorative process with the help of superfood-packed juices. “Injecting a wide variety of nutrients into your system will carry it through to the next morning,” she explains of her carefully planned p.m. detox recipes.

6. Set an alarm for lights out

If you glance at the clock at 10 p.m. and then all of a sudden it’s 12:30 a.m. (just us?), it may be time to reset your alarm so it’s reminding you when to go to sleep. A consistent lights-out time may even mean that you can ditch the dreaded a.m. alarm, eventually. Sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D., tells us that around two weeks into a consistent bedtime, the body adjusts and starts waking up around the same time every day—on its own. Now we’ll finally be able to make it to that Saturday morning yoga class that we always press snooze through…

Still having a hard time sleeping? Try one of our top insomnia-fighting remedies.

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1. Natural sleep supplements

Prescription sleep aids like Ambien may be effective, but come with a groggy wake-up side effect. Not so with many all-natural sleep supplements—and we got top sleep doctors to talk about the options, and how to take them.

2. Count your breaths

If you grew up counting sheep, you’ve got the right idea. “On the rare occasion that I don’t fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, I will watch my breaths until I do,” shares West Coast yogi MacKenzie Miller. “Breath counting is extremely effective.” (And way more calming than breaking out your iPhone to catch up on emails.)

3. Relax, restorative yoga-style

If the mere thought of falling asleep is enough to have you tossing and turning, Tiffany Cruikshank will have you dreaming peacefully in no time. After a hot foot bath and a supported restorative yoga pose, of course.

Got the evening routine thing down? Here are the morning routines of wellness gurus to inspire you.