I'm A Sleep Doctor & This Easy Habit Changed My Sleep For The Better


I’ve been a big believer in a solid, routine wake-up time for decades, well before it became the popular thing we all talk about now. Unless I’m out for some reason with friends or at a concert or something, I follow this routine on weekdays and weekends.

5:30 a.m.: Wake up with my old-school Sony Dream Machine digital alarm clock (though my body clock is so well set now that I pretty much routinely awaken at that time without even needing an alarm). Get into my workout clothing that I put out on the edge of my bathtub the night before. 

5:45 a.m.: Depending on the day and if I’m training for a specific marathon, I’ll have a prescribed workout from my run coach. Right now, since I’m not training for any marathons for a while, I’m mixing it up. I go to my basement (which is brightly lit) and either run on my treadmill, do a spin class, lift heavy weights or a combination of the 3. If it is a rest day, I’ll go downstairs and slowly make coffee and potentially walk easily on the treadmill or do an easy yoga/stretch for a short, active recovery to help with mobility. 

6:45 a.m.: Finish my workout, put my kid’s breakfast out (oftentimes just overnight oats—super easy), and hop in the shower fast. 

7 a.m.: Finish shower (I get ready quick!) and do a short, 2-minute morning mindfulness routine while my kids are waking up. I’ve been doing this mindfulness meditation for at least 10 years. I look out the window and observe and describe what I see. That’s it; super-grounding for me before the frantic morning is about to start. 

Then, the kids go to school and I start my workday. I make sure to get lots of light during the day since it helps set the body’s natural circadian clock. I also drink water routinely (I use a huge 40-ounce jug and fill it up twice a day), and try to take a quick stretch/walk break at some points between patients. 

6:15 p.m.: Dinner at home (sometimes this gets shifted a bit with afterschool activities, but we tend to eat early). 

7:15 p.m.: I get my daughter (6 years old) into the shower and ready for bed. She’s asleep by 7:45. My almost 13-year-old son doesn’t need any help from me anymore (awww!) and goes to bed on his own, except he gives us his phone at 9 p.m. and all electronics are off for him at that time. 

7:45 p.m.: I finish up any work and cleaning, and prioritize what I must get done for tomorrow vs what can wait. I do all this with the TV on so I can watch something as well. Sometimes I just watch TV or scroll on my phone. 

8:45 / 9 p.m.: Go upstairs and get washed up/changed for bed, I’m a stickler about a good skincare routine and also find it super-relaxing

9-9:30 p.m.: I do some stretching on the floor (I do a lot of the Peloton stretch videos, but have memorized them now), then get in bed and read for about 15 minutes. Lights out when I’m sleepy, around 9:30pm. Sometimes my husband comes to bed with me, sometimes he’s up later. We have different body clocks—he’s more of a night owl, and I’m an early bird. 

Rinse and repeat. 


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