The Sleep Routine That Keeps A Psychiatrist Energized (Sans Caffeine)
I have always had a love affair with sleep. When I was younger, I felt like I was constantly chasing a residual sleep debt and found myself catching up on sleep on the weekends.
The sleep debt began in high school. I went to the Illinois Math & Science Academy, a public residential magnet school where we all slept an average of about four hours per night. I remember always feeling tired but somehow I could never get myself on a sustainable schedule of adequate sleep.
For years after, I chased a seemingly never-ending sleep debt until one day I was finally caught up and no longer tired. Now, many years later, I feel great with six to seven hours per night.
I have my best night's sleep when I get into bed before midnight and wake up around 6 or 7 a.m. My biggest barrier to a solid night's sleep is getting in bed too late (which happens sometimes, especially now when I'm living in bustling Miami) or accidentally having something caffeinated to eat or drink in the evening.
A good night's sleep is incredibly important to me and enables me to feel energetic, productive, and positive throughout the day.
- Average hours I sleep a night: 6 to 7 hours
- Ideal bedtime: 10 p.m. is ideal for me, but usually bedtime is closer to midnight
- Ideal wake-up time: 6 to 7 a.m.
- Nightstand essentials: A good book (currently The Awakened Mind by Lisa Miller), blindfold, lavender essential oil, water.
- Favorite place I've ever slept: Way back when I was backpacking through Europe in my 20s, there were a few nights when my friends and I slept on deserted beaches. Nothing beats falling asleep under a sky full of stars and waking up to the sun gently rising as the waves crash down beside you.
- Caffeine consumption: Rare to none. Maybe about once per month, I'll have a sip of coffee if I'm feeling tired and need a small pick-me-up.
- How I track my sleep: Oura ring!
- The last product that changed my sleep for the better: I got this amazing vibratory massage chair called the ShiftWave, which I use every morning and every night for about 20 minutes. It's like a meditation and massage in one, and it makes me fall asleep right away. The other thing that always changes my sleep for the better is meditation. Lately, I've been using Joe Dispenza's 15-minute Joy and Gratitude meditations in the evenings before I go to bed.
- The first thing I do when I wake up: Lie in bed a while longer to see if I can remember some of my dreams.
10 p.m.: If I'm home for the evening, I make myself a chamomile tea and begin to wind down for the day.
10:10 p.m.: I take a shower, brush/floss my teeth, put on some vegan, organic, cruelty-free moisturizers, and get into my comfy PJs.
10:30 p.m.: I get into my Shiftwave Chair for a 20-minute massage while listening to Joe Dispenza's 15-minute meditation on Gratitude or Joy.
11 p.m.: I set my alarm for the next day and drift off to sleep.
6 a.m.: I wake up bright and early to begin my day, lingering in bed for a few moments to see if any of my dreams come back to me.
6:05 a.m.: After brushing my teeth and taking a shower, I drink a glass of room-temperature water with lemon. I do 20 more minutes on my massage chair while listening to a morning meditation.
6:30 a.m.: Now I'm ready to start my day!
Anna Yusim, M.D., is an award-winning, internationally recognized psychiatrist, keynote speaker, and best-selling author of Fulfilled: How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life. She has a psychiatry practice in Manhattan where she has helped over a thousand patients.
After working as a neurobiology researcher with Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D., and completing her studies at Stanford University, Yale Medical School, and the NYU Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Dr. Yusim felt that something was missing from her life. In her quest to find it, she traveled, lived, and worked in over 50 countries, while studying Kabbalah, learning Buddhist meditation, and working with South American shamans and Indian gurus. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.