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    I Struggle With Going To Bed Early, So I Tried Bedtime Habits That Are Supposed To Make You Fall Asleep ASAP

    Me: Go to bed! Also me: No.

    Hi! My name is Fabiana and I'm a person, like most, who is always in major need of sleep. 😴

    The annoying thing about my sleep schedule is that I'm an early riser no matter what day of the week it is — but I can never get myself to sleep at a decent hour.

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    Over the years, I've become a morning person. Meaning: I love an early quiet morning where I can work out, take my time, eat breakfast, and set the tone for the rest of my day. And because of that, for better or for worse, my body clock has become conditioned to wake up early — regardless of whether it's a Tuesday or a Saturday.

    Considering I'm usually awake by 7 a.m., by the time noon rolls around, I feel like I'm crashing, and the nonstop yawns continue throughout the day.

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    Aside from wanting more hours of sleep so I have more energy, I also know how crucial a good night's sleep is for recovering your body after a workout, something that I do every day. So I had double the reason to want to try and fix my nighttime habits.

    Back when I was in my early twenties and living at home, I used to blame my family for getting in the way of my bedtime routine.

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    As I would brush my teeth, my mom would call out to me to show me something on her computer, my dad would be making noise in the kitchen getting a snack, or just the volume of my loud Italian family's voices would be enough to prevent me from falling asleep early.

    Eventually, when I moved out and lived by myself, I noticed that I could no longer blame anyone but myself for not having a productive nighttime routine. (Is it just me or do the hours after work just fly by??)

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    One minute, I'm cooking dinner, and the next minute, it's 10 p.m. and I'm panicking that I haven't yet showered, sent out that last work email, or gotten ready for bed. (And, of course, bingeing a show on Netflix will do it too.)

    After quarantine happened, I found it even tougher to put away my phone, say goodnight to Netflix, and not get distracted by anyone all before bed.

    The author giving a thumbs up
    Fabiana Buontempo

    At this point, I knew I needed to make some changes so I can stop hearing myself complain about going to bed late and stop getting distracted by things in my room, which also prevents me from an early bedtime.

    So for an entire work week, I decided I would try different popular bedtime hacks and methods to see if any of them would help me achieve my goal of getting to bed early. My ultimate goal: be in bed by 10 p.m and asleep shortly after.

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    Here's how it went!

    NIGHT ONE: I made dinner extra early — so I could finish cooking and cleaning with plenty of time to spare.

    The author holding a cleaning sponge
    Fabiana Buontempo

    Like I mentioned above, the night just escapes me and by the time I'm done with dinner, it's pretty late to do anything else. I made it a point to begin prepping and cooking dinner by 6 p.m., way earlier than I normally would begin this process. By the time I was done with everything, it was 7:30pm...not too bad!

    After dinner, I went right to the shower and began my nighttime skincare routine. By 8 p.m., I opened my laptop to do a little more work before sitting on the couch. It was already 9 p.m. at this point, so I didn't tempt myself with another episode of Firefly Lane and instead watched one of my favorite YouTubers for the next half hour. At this point, I figured I'd force myself to brush my teeth so I could crawl under the covers by that magic hour and...IT WORKED! I got to bed early for once. Success!

    NIGHT TWO: Force myself to put down my phone a full hour before bed — instead of scrolling until right before I shut my eyes.

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    I knew this method would be one of the toughest, so I made sure to try it early in the week to see if I could really put the phone away early. I didn't really have any tips and tricks for this one aside from putting a time limit on my most-used apps. I set the time limit to close my apps at 9 p.m. and I even set an alarm to remind me to put my phone away for the night.

    I surprisingly wasn't aware of the time while I was scrolling Instagram at 8:55 p.m., so when my time limit and alarm went off, I was startled and a little annoyed. I was tempted to ignore the time limit, but I told myself it's for my own good. I set my morning alarm and put my phone across the room on my desk instead of on my nightstand like I normally do. Rather than aimlessly being on my phone at this hour, I went to brush my teeth and even did a few stretches before getting into bed. Who am I??

    NIGHT THREE: Read 10 pages of a (long-neglected) book before shutting my eyes.

    The author reading a book
    Fabiana Buontempo

    The sad reality is that I haven't picked up the book I've been reading in maybe two months because back (very back) in the day, I used to use my time before bed to read to help me fall asleep. So since I've been on my phone or watching TV more often before bed the past year, my poor book has only been collecting dust sitting on my nightstand.

    I made sure to crawl into bed and get comfy by 9:45 p.m. so I could revisit my book. I only made it through 10 pages of reading before my eyes started getting heavy and I knew it was time to call it a night. To my surprise, this was another night of achieving my early bedtime goal. Maybe it was all easier than I thought?

    NIGHT FOUR: Turn off the lights and meditate right before bed.

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    I was honestly dreading this method because I am personally not into meditating. I've tried it, and for me, it's always a fail. (I know I sound very pessimistic, but I'm trying to be realistic with myself here.)

    I knew I'd likely need some help here, so I downloaded the ~trendy~ meditating app Headspace and followed one of their night meditations. It definitely helped relax me, but I struggled with keeping my mind clear once the session ended.

    Afterward, I laid in bed wide awake, trying my best to fall asleep, but my mind was all over the place thinking of the next day's work, my morning coffee, and whether I should sign up for that early morning Barry's class or not. After about an hour and a half and a lot of tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep.

    NIGHT FIVE: Try out a nighttime yoga routine.

    The author in yoga pants
    Fabiana Buontempo

    I've always heard that it's good to stretch before bed, but I never really followed that advice. However, since I'm kind of desperate to find ways to hit the hay early, I figured a late-night stretch might be worth trying. I found a short 10-minute bedtime yoga routine from Yoga With Adriene on YouTube and forced myself to relax while I laid on my bedroom carpet in my pajamas, listening to the instructor's calming voice.

    I didn't feel tired or anything after the 10 minutes, but it was something productive to do rather than being on my phone. And honestly, I *did* feel a bit more relaxed and like my body was ready for a good night's rest. But unfortunately, I laid awake for another hour before finally closing my eyes.

    THE RESULTS: Out of all of the methods I tried, the ones that worked best for me to get to bed early were: having a time limit on my phone, reading before bed, and cooking a much earlier-than-usual dinner.

    The author smiling before bed
    Fabiana Buontempo

    It's amazing what putting away your phone away before bed can do for your sleep — something I've always heard but have never actually tried or followed until now. I'm planning on keeping my time limits on my app and setting an alarm to remind me to get off my phone an hour early until this becomes a habit.

    I also really enjoyed reading my book before going to sleep. I realized how much I enjoyed settling into a good book while being comfortable in bed, and it's also like a natural melatonin in that it put me right to sleep.

    Cooking an early meal allowed me to have more time for myself at night rather than feeling rushed to get everything done. I loved being able to cook, clean up, and still have a few hours to do whatever I needed to. If your schedule allows, I'd recommend trying the same thing.

    What's your favorite tip or trick for going to bed early? Tell me in the comments!

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