This Sleep Routine Helps Me Wake Up At 4:45 a.m. (Sans Alarm) Feeling Rested
I grew up in a culture that believed that we could sleep when we were dead. Thankfully, my mom believed otherwise. Up until the age of 15, bedtime for my sister and me was 7:30 p.m. That served us well through college. But my relationship with sleep changed in dental school when late nights and even all-nighters became the norm.
When we lost a family member to sleep apnea, healthy sleep (good-quality sleep for seven to eight hours) took on new significance for me. It became the focal point of my family's journey to a healthier lifestyle. It also became an important part of my dentistry, and I started incorporating sleep disorder screenings into my practice. (Sleep health and dental health are connected, after all.)
I now know and understand that getting a good night's rest starts from the minute I wake up. From practicing mindfulness through yoga, meditation, and journaling; to making sure I get enough sunlight and respect my circadian rhythm; to nourishing my body with healthy foods and water, there are many pieces to the sleep puzzle.
- Average hours I sleep a night: 7
- Ideal bedtime: 9:30 p.m.
- Ideal wake-up time: 4:45 a.m.
- Nightstand essentials: A bottle of water, salt lamp, blue-light-blocking reading glasses, a good book.
- Favorite place I've ever slept: On a mat on the floor of a monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas. Truly, no words can describe it.
- Sleep bad habit: Trying to get too much done right before bed. I should know better, but some days just get away from me.
- Caffeine consumption: I have a double espresso at about 10 a.m., and then I'm done. I do love a cup of chamomile tea in bed with my book as I'm unwinding.
- How I track my sleep: I love my Oura Ring and the stats it gives me.
- The last product or habit that changed my sleep for the better: ChiliPad for the win. I wasn't sure how I would feel about it when I purchased it, but it's truly been life-changing (or rather…sleep-changing!).
- The first thing I do when I wake up: Make my bed and drink a big glass of water.
8 p.m.: Time to start winding down after a busy day seeing patients and coaching doctors. I also take a couple of Thrive Therapeutics non-melatonin calming gummies to help start winding down. They are non-habit-forming, and my girls and I love the taste.
8:15 p.m.: Turn off the computer and finish cleaning up the kitchen with my girls. This gives us an opportunity to touch base about reminders for the next day.
8:35 p.m.: Step into the bathroom to brush my teeth, do my face care routine, and shower. I find a warm shower before bed helps me wash the stresses of the day away and mentally reset.
8:45 p.m.: Climb into bed with a cup of hot tea (unsweetened, of course) and a book. I put on my Ocushield blue-light-blocking glasses if I am reading on a device. Currently, I'm reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.
9 p.m.: Time to put down the book and turn off the light. It's getting a little difficult to focus, and the zzz's beckon.
4:45 a.m.: Time to wake up. I was actually able to beat my alarm and jump out of bed. Feeling rested…time to help others feel the same.
Dr. Meghna Dassani is passionate about helping adult and pediatric patients with sleep-disordered breathing get the treatment they need to live healthier, happier lives. Throughout her career, she has gained invaluable insight into what it takes to implement those services into the practice and currently shares her knowledge and experience in her role as a speaker. She is an international speaker that strives to leave audiences with the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver sleep apnea treatments.
Before attending the Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University, Dr. Dassani operated a successful dental practice in Mumbai. For the past 18 years, she has been practicing in Houston, Texas where she continues to share and enhance her knowledge of obstructive sleep apnea treatments.