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As the holiday season reaches its peak, there’s no doubt that you’ll be inundated with party invites, end-of-the-year deadlines, and last-minute errands, which can lead to an erratic sleep schedule. Messing with your REM cycle, however, is no small matter—sleep deprivation can make you cranky, screw with your metabolism, and give you a host of health-related problems (not to mention those dreaded under-eye bags).
Here, seven StyleCaster editors share the fall-asleep-fast secrets that have carried them through all-nighters, holiday benders, and tight deadlines.
“I swear by ReBloom ($20 for 7 bottles), an all-natural, non-habit-forming liquid that’s available online. I drink one bottle on nights when I can’t fall sleep, and I not only snooze straight through to my alarm, but I wake up totally refreshed. Its active ingredients are L-Theanine (the amino acid found in green tea) and melatonin to help you stay asleep, as well as lavender, chamomile, valerian root, and magnesium. See? No chemicals.
The beauty of the drink is that it doesn’t knock you out like an Ambien but rather lulls you to sleep when you’re ready to fall asleep. I take it about 20 minutes before bed and then relax by reading (or, fine, turning on “Watch What Happens Live”) and find I doze off slowly. It’s sold online only, but drugstores sell a similar version called DreamWater that I like, too, although I’ve found ReBloom to be more transparent about methodology and clear about the results of a placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial on its site.” –Perrie Samotin, site director
“I read in bed! Even though studies say you shouldn’t have your mobile device shining in your face, I always read something on my iBooks or Kindle app before I go to sleep. I keep the screen very dim, and I find that it helps my mind to focus on the book rather than stressful life questions or things I need to do the next day. Usually, about six pages in I’ll find that I’m nodding off and that’s when I know it’s time to put the phone on my nightstand and roll over. It’s probably not for everyone, but it works like a charm for me.” –Candace Napier, editorial designer
“I used to work the overnight shift when I covered hard news, and I probably have more gadgets and hacks than MacGyver to get a good night’s sleep. For starters? I keep a lavender sachet under my pillow; I like L’Occitane’s amazing one from Provence ($12), which helps me de-stress and stay calm. If I’ve downed too many coffees during the day, I’ll take two melatonin gummies. I like VitaFusion SleepWell in white tea with passion fruit ($6.69 at drugstores). I’m a huge advocate for silk pillowcases and am totally obsessed with Slip’s variety (available at Sephora for $99). And I always try to carve out 10 to 20 minutes for mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises while the melatonin kicks in. It’s a good time to refocus and think about getting some rest, not the 15 deadlines and 20 holiday parties on my schedule.” –Beth Stebner, lifestyle editor
“Before I took up meditation, the second my head hit the pillow at night was the same moment my brain began racing with things I needed to tick off that day (but didn’t) and want I wanted to accomplish the following day. Not surprising, really, when you consider that I’m all about screen time before bed, regularly hit the gym really late at night, and have always been a bona fide night owl. My bedtime habits are a perfect cocktail for insomnia.
However, once I started practicing Vedic meditation (a form of mantra meditation, similar to Transcendental Meditation), that all changed. I meditate most nights before bed for 20 minutes and find that within seconds of finishing my mantra, I’m fast asleep—and I stay that way until my alarm goes off in the morning. While I’ll never be the kind of girl who jumps out of bed when the sun rises, mornings are less of a struggle when I meditate the night before. Studies actually show that meditation can help fight insomnia, so this is no happy coincidence. I took a week-long course, but you can just use an app like OMG! I Can Meditate or Headspace to get started.” –Jasmine Garnsworthy, editor
“I’ve always been a champion sleeper, but my husband … not so much. He grew up falling asleep with the TV on in the background and requires white noise to get decent shut-eye, which is why he comes to bed every night with his iPad loaded up to Relax Melodies HD. The free app allows you to customize a mix of up to ten soothing sounds—ours is a blend of rain on a roof with light thunder and a storm brewing in the background—that will instantly lull you to sleep. At this point, the response is Pavlovian: The second we hear it go on, our eyes start to get heavy. Even our dog stops rustling around the bed to get settled in for the night the moment the melody starts.” –Cristina Velocci, managing editor
“My neighborhood isn’t exactly quiet at night (and my dog snores), so I use a white-noise app to make sure I actually get my beauty sleep. I’ve used this white-noise app for the last four years or so, and I love it. I put on the extreme rain track, and it blocks out all the ambient noise. The thing I like best about it is that it has a really reliable alarm, which you can program to begin quietly and slowly get louder—no more being shocked out of sleep by a horrible screeching beep. It helps me have a good morning as well as a good night’s sleep.” –Alle Connell, senior beauty editor
“I used to fall asleep fairly easily, but when I started working in the digital space, I found that it was harder for me to draw boundaries between my time to sleep and to be online—a quick scroll through Instagram all too easily turned into an hour-long k-hole. Now, 10 minutes before I know I’ll be heading to bed, I turn off all my electronics and spray Deep Sleep Pillow Spray ($29) on my bed linens. The lavender and vetiver scent is super soothing and helps me to clear my head before hitting the hay.” –Cady Lang, social media editor