We all took notes when Oprah Winfrey’s personal trainer told us how to shed pounds, and then again when her personal chef told us how to…shed pounds… and now, O’s personal sleep coach has some advice on how to ace your nightly slumber.
In an exclusive interview with FEMAIL, Oprah’s sleep doctor, Michael Breus, says he has a nightly routine that will ensure you a solid sleep.
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Contrary to what you may have heard, your sleep routine starts way before you turn off the lights and set your alarm. Dr. Breus says we all need “wind down” time before our heads hit the pillow.
‘The secret to sleep is to pay attention to what you’re doing in those precious hours before bedtime,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
“One hour before you are going to try and sleep, break up your time accordingly,” he said.
Dr. Breus says in addition to brushing your teeth, washing your face, and engaging in other nightly hygiene tasks, it’s important to give yourself time to relax, which is why it’s essential to avoid anything intense before bed. He explained:
Having big emotional discussions with your partner right before bed is one of the worst things you can do before trying to fall asleep. It sets off this whole level of autonomic arousal, you’re angry, you’re upset and you can’t stop thinking right before bed.
He says it’s also a good idea to avoid things like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which are known to disrupt your sleep cycles. Instead, focus on decompressing your body.
“Whether it’s muscle relaxation, Tai Chi, stretching or doing something for your mind like meditation or prayer, make sure you use this time for you,” he said, adding that failing to do so can lead to insomnia.
“Regular exercise can be tremendously helpful in alleviating insomnia too,” he said, “as can mindfulness practices and relaxation therapies.”
He says aim for 7.5 hours of sleep a night, which he refers to as the “sweet spot” for a good night’s rest.