This Is A Major Barrier To Sleep—Here's How mbg Staffers Overcome It
Many times, when we occasionally have trouble falling asleep, it's because racing thoughts are keeping us awake. Unchecked stress from the day has a way of creeping into nighttime, where it can keep us in flight-or-fight mode and out of rest-and-digest.
As mbg's director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explained during a recent Instagram Live interview, our nighttime routines (or lack thereof) are partially to blame for this lingering stress. "One of the reasons we are not falling asleep is we have forgotten the importance of routine and wind-down," Ferira told mbg's co-founder and co-CEO Colleen Wachob.
When we place an intentional buffer between our active days and restful nights, we can get into bed in the right frame of mind. For a model of how to do this, Ferira says we can look to the bedtime routines of young kids. Even after you've outgrown your old PJ sets, you can probably still benefit from a healthy nighttime snack, a bedtime story, and a strict lights-out time.
After all, you'll never be too old for a nighttime routine. For inspiration, here's a peek into the wind-down rituals you can find team mbg doing on any given night.
Nightly routines of mbg staffers.
"I always shower before crawling into bed, lather myself up with a body butter, slip into a PJ set, and light a candle (if I plan on staying up to read or watch a bit of TV). I sleep with my AC turned down to 68 degrees, both for the cool temp and the whirring noise—I can't sleep in silence. Now that the weather's getting cooler, the final step is to turn on my humidifier."
—Abby, mbg Assistant Managing Editor
"First, I'll take mbg's sleep support+ as early as possible.* Then, I'll charge my phone away from my bedside table, drink some tea, wash my face and take my contacts out, turn the temperature down in my room, and turn on the sound machine. I'll probably end up falling asleep listening to The Great British Bake Off, which my fiancé is almost always watching!"
—Hannah Margaret, mbg Executive Editor
"Skin and hair care is definitely how I relax at the end of the day. Depending on how I'm feeling and how much time I have, I love a gentle mask, gua sha with a face oil, or scalp massage. I have sensitive skin, so I only mask once a week. But I'll do a face and scalp routine almost every night—at least five nights of the week."
—Alex, mbg Beauty Director
"My white noise machine has been a game-changer for me! It's an absolute must-have to block out city sounds. I also have been applying a lightweight hair oil at night to keep my ends shiny and soft. Nuele's blend includes clary sage oil, and I find it a super-relaxing scent before bed."
—Jamie, mbg Associate Editor
"I usually make peppermint or chamomile tea and light a candle—especially as it gets chillier out! I also always shower before bed."
—Alexa, mbg Social Media Manager
"I close my electronics and leave them outside of my bedroom, brush my teeth, floss, and take my contacts out, sometimes use pine needle body oil, and read until I fall asleep."
—Olivia, mbg Social Media Associate
"I'll watch a relaxing TV show, cleanse and moisturize my face, and take mbg's calm+ supplement as needed for extra relaxation support.* From there, I'll set my room to a cool temperature (67 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit), pop in earplugs, put on a white noise machine and eye cover/mask, pray, and then it's sleepytime."
—Ashley, mbg Director of Scientific Affairs
"I try to stop using electronics (at least the ones that are super close to my face, like a phone or tablet) about an hour before bed. Then, I'll brush my teeth and wash my face, get under the covers, and write at least one snapshot from the day in my journal. From there, I dim my bedside lamp way down, put on hand cream, take my sleep support+, and read a book until it kicks in.* With any luck, it'll only be a matter of minutes until I'm reaching for my eye mask."
—Emma, mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
"I stop drinking water one to two hours before bed so I won't have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I take sleep medication an hour before bed to give it time to kick in, then I get in bed and read a paper novel for an hour. My husband comes to bed an hour later and we turn off the lights and talk for a little bit but only about positive things! Sometimes I take a shower before bed too. Nothing like getting between the sheets all clean."
—Samantha, mbg Copy Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.