How A Family Medicine Doctor Gets Deep Sleep (Even With A Newborn)
I love and cherish sleep, and I've started to value it even more since I've become a mother. I really savor it and make it a priority. I have the best night's sleep when I set my day up for success, exercise, and meditate in the morning. I also strive to stop drinking caffeine by noon and stop drinking water by 8 p.m. for the sake of my sleep. These days, the biggest barrier to my sleep is my baby waking me up because she is teething or needs comforting.
As a doctor, I believe that sleep is really the one thing you need to make a priority for many reasons, medical and nonmedical. It is essential for your mental, emotional, and overall well-being. When I sleep well, I eat better. I am not as short-tempered. I have more energy to accomplish more tasks. And I am more patient, loving, and kind with my kids, my family, and my patients.
- Average hours I sleep a night: Seven. I'm still nursing, so my baby will often wake me up to eat.
- Ideal bedtime: 10 p.m.
- Ideal wake-up time: 5 a.m.
- Nightstand essentials: Blackout eye mask, a book to read, and water
- Favorite place I've ever slept: My bed, honestly
- Sleep bad habit: Drinking too much water right before going to bed; scrolling/catching up on emails and texts before I close my eyes
- Caffeine consumption: I drink 1-2 cups of matcha in the morning
- How I track my sleep: I use a Fitbit, but lately I've been avoiding sleep-tracking devices because of the potential EMF exposure
- The last product or habit that changed my sleep for the better: I was using the Apollo wearable to help with my sleep
- The first thing I do when I wake up: Express gratitude, grab my baby and feed her, meditate, drink water
8:30 p.m.: It's Monday night at 8:30 p.m., and all of my three kids are finally sleeping. The lights in our house are dim as I prep what they need for tomorrow and plan my day: I'll make lunch and breakfast, pack bags for school/work, etc. I then take my evening supplements (magnesium) with a big glass of water.
8:45 p.m.: I realize I haven't hit all my steps today, so I get on my treadmill and get another 3,000 steps in to hit my 10,000-step goal. I completed a 30-minute walk, and I feel accomplished and proud.
9:19 p.m.: I start my bedtime beauty routine. I brush my teeth, wash my face, use my red light wand, take my contacts out, and get ready to wind down.
9:28 p.m.: I grab my water to keep by my bedside in case I need it when I wake up in the morning. I empty my bladder since I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night.
9:33 p.m.: I look at my phone one last time to listen to binaural beats while I meditate. (Sometimes I will listen to a meditation on one of my many apps, but this time I actually want to just listen and doze off.) I reflect on my to-do's for tomorrow and everything that needs to be done this upcoming week. I have my eye mask on while I meditate and feel good.
10 p.m.: I'm asleep.
5 a.m.: My alarm goes off because I need to wake up to nurse my baby. I feed her and we snuggle, then I put her back to sleep.
5:45 a.m.: I get out of bed, drink my first big glass of water, and start getting ready for the day. I wake up, brush my teeth, take my contacts off, wash my face, and get ready to work out.
6:10 a.m.: I start my 40-minute strength training workout.
6:50 a.m.: I'm in the shower by 6:50, ready to get my girls up and ready by 7:15.
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an American Board Family Medicine–certified physician who studied family medicine at Georgia Regents University/Medical College of Georgia. She completed her undergraduate training at the University of Georgia with a bachelor's of science in biology and psychology in 2004 and her doctor of medicine at American University of Antigua College of Medicine in 2010. She completed an integrative medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona with Dr. Andrew Weil. She is also currently working on her functional medicine training with the Institute of Functional Medicine. Her interests include integrative, holistic, and functional medicine; women's health; preventive medicine; international medicine; and health care reform. She's also a certified yoga instructor and Reiki master. She enjoys writing and educating everyone on important health matters.