Ah, sleep, the reset button of our (literal) dreams. But, with all the networking, creating, and general hustling of the day-to-day, sometimes getting some actual rest can be harder than showing up at the DMV with the right forms. So we asked writer Ashley Tibbits to hit up some of her favorite LA-based creatives to see how they make time for productive, peaceful rest no matter how crazy their days get. Get ready to channel your inner Holly Golightly, turn up/down some Enya, and learn how to get better at bedtime.
It takes a lot of brainpower to run a slew of hip bars and eateries, to dream up a creativity-boosting business conference, or to design and locally produce a stylish womenswear label (among endless other trades), brainpower that arguably wouldn’t be as accessible without a decent sleep. And yet, for those as busy as the aforementioned, getting a good night’s rest can often be a major challenge.
For that reason we’ve looked to some of Los Angeles’s most productive, successful, and yet, busiest creative working people to find out their best habits for rest that’s both beneficial and fits into their jam-packed schedules.
Ban the Booze
Don’t worry, you don’t have stop having a low-key cocktail from time to time, but drinking alcohol too close to bedtime is likely to keep you tossing and turning. Designer Heidi Merrick abides by a strict no-drinking after sundown rule. “There’s no worse sleep for me than alcohol induced,” she says, and considering she’s got two little ones to take care of while running her fashion empire, this woman needs her z’s.
Don’t Knock Naps
They keep little ones from being cranky, so why shouldn’t they do the same for us? While it’s not advised to go back to bed for several hours, sneaking in a 30-minute nap daily can actually boost productivity and performance. Unique CAMP founder (and events expert, media maven, and entrepreneur) Sonja Rasula gets through it all with regular mid-day naps. “I actually keep a small pillow and a blanket at work,”she explains, “so when I feel tired I simply lay down and take a quick nap. Studies have proven that people increase attention span and efficiency if they take a 15 to 20 minute nap in the afternoon, when feeling sluggish. The problem here is that most people feel embarrassed to take a nap at work or get some shut eye, which is ridiculous. We are living in 2016 and can use a piece of metal and glass in our hands to have lunch delivered to us! The real thing to think about is whether you’d rather produce mediocre work or reach your full potential and kick ass.”
And Eastside Establishment’s Dustin Lancaster couldn’t agree more. Now that the restaurateur/hotelier is responsible for half a dozen LA hotspots, finding moments of stillness and quiet is more important than ever. He offers, “My real secret is sneaking in a small meditative nap around 3pm or 4pm to reboot just before all the places open at 5pm. I have the same routine: I lay on top of the covers fully clothed, turn off my phone and see if I can find 20 minutes of stillness. It truly works wonders to get me through the second half of the day.”
Forget Your Phone
It’s too easy to get sucked into your iCal, inbox, or go down a social media rabbit hole. Have you ever been winding down in bed, scrolling through Instagram, and before you know it you’ve watched an hour’s worth of makeup tutorials or read every terrible comment that internet trolls wrote on your favorite celebrity’s photos (all 1,538 of them)? No judgment, but that’s not very conducive to getting a good night’s sleep.
Besides inundating your brain with info when you’re trying to wind down, your device’s light alone is telling your body to stay awake and alert. Try doing what writer/editor and Fashion Mamas founder Natalie Alcala does and power down when it’s bedtime. Since Alcala’s also mom to a toddler, having a slow-moving day just isn’t an option, so in addition to routinely hitting the sack at 9pm (she wakes up at 5:30am to kick off her day of work and mom-life) she’s sure to keep that phone far away. “If I somehow wake up in the middle of the night, I never, ever look at my phone,” Alcala swears.
Get (Sleep) In Where You Fit (Sleep) In
Performer and all-around culture creator Maceo Paisley was motivated by none other than actor Mark Wahlberg when finding out what his sleep “sweet spot” was. “I know [he] sleeps from 8am to 3pm because that works for he and his family. You should try and make life work for your sleep needs and be willing to try unconventional hours or other durations of sleep.” For Paisley that means going to bed by midnight and waking up no later than 6am. “That’s only six hours but for me it’s better than tossing and turning for eight. Over-sleeping can mess up your energy levels so I almost never sleep later than seven hours no matter how tired I am.”
Create a Wind-Down Routine
Sleep patterns are easily created (and not so easily broken) so find a little bit of a relaxation routine which will start telling your brain it’s time for bed. You can take a warm bath to soothe muscles and temporarily raise your body’s temperature, which is actually helpful because when it drops back after your soak, it mimics your body’s own pre-sleep cool-down. If baths aren’t your thing, a hot cup of tea can also do the trick. “I always have a cup of herbal tea before I go to bed,” says chef and caterer Corina Weibel. In addition to the warming/cooling effect, teas like peppermint or chamomile (especially in lieu of snacks before bed, which can totally get in the way of sleep) can aid in digestion, which is great because an unhappy belly is a surefire sleep-killer.
Header: Sleep Patterns