Are Sleep Issues Driving You Crazy? An Expert Breaks Down How to Stay Asleep With Sweet Dreams

You may have to make some sacrifices, but a solid sleep isn’t off the table.
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Do you spend more time scrolling through your phone at 4am than uttering gibberish in your sleep? If you just can’t seem to catch a break in the bedroom (we’re talking sleep here!), you’re not alone. And if you’re wondering how to go to sleep fast, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Parenting, stress, insomnia, temperature, comfort and so many other variables play into whether or not someone doses off successfully. And if you live in LA (or another metropolitan city), you can often add sirens and general outside chaos to that list. 

Luckily, there are universal factors across the board that can assist in your quest to catch Zzzs. Skyelyfe chatted with sleep expert Dr. Whitney Roban, who founded Solve Our Sleep. Roban was also the featured speaker at a sleep tourism event I attended this year at Downtown LA’s Hotel Figueroa. Below you’ll find her response to key sleep-related topics, along with some tried and true skyelyfe-approved methods of my own.

Factors That Affect Sleep 

There are so many contributors to poor sleep—some of which we never would have considered. Dr. Roban lists the following as what to be aware of if you struggle: anxiety; depression; low calcium and low vitamin D levels; sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg and narcolepsy; heavy and spicy foods before bed, caffeine close to bed; emotional content consumed before bed such as a scary movie; SSRIs used to treat anxiety and depression; and ADHD meds such as Ritalin.


There’s a big misconception that melatonin will help you sleep better if you use it each night, but according to Dr. Roban, such isn’t proven to be the case. “Good news is that research says it is safe for short-term use,” she shares, adding, “It’s not a sleep aid, it’s a sleep schedule regulator. It’s useful for getting circadian rhythm in sync when jet-lagged, and also for nightshift workers. It’s also shown to be useful for children on the autism spectrum and children with ADHD.”

Another fun fact, melatonin isn’t FDA regulated. Dr. Roban points out that research has shown some brands have 80% less melatonin compared to what’s stated on the label, to upwards of 400% more than what’s stated on the label, and 26% contained serotonin. 

If you find melatonin to work for you, one way or another, Dr. Roban advises starting at .5 mg. “When you take more than 3mg, you’re more prone to potential side effects,” she says. “This can include vivid dreams and/or nightmares, grogginess, anxiety and stomach discomfort the next day.”

redhead girl sleep in her bed with white sheets
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Other Sleep Supplements

As Dr. Roban points out, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep supplements. 

“Everyone’s body chemistry is different and their sleep issues are different,” she says. “Also, people take other medications that can affect how supplements might work, and potential interaction effects. Therefore, it’s really trial and error to see what works best for you, and it’s best to talk to your doctor before you take anything.”

Working Out Before Bed

For me personally, I fall sleep much easier after a workout of any sort. But Dr. Roban actually advises against it.

“High intensity exercise isn’t recommended close to bedtime because it stimulates the nervous system and increases adrenaline and your heart rate,” she explains. “This makes falling asleep more difficult. It also increases body temperature, which decreases melatonin production, and won’t allow enough time for your body temperature to decrease so that melatonin production can increase.”

Going to the Bathroom in the Middle of the Night

Once I hit 30, I suddenly related to my grandma in one major way. I had to go to the bathroom multiples times a night. It’s the biggest inconvenience and I usually have trouble falling right back asleep. While these are mostly tough for me to commit to consistently, Dr. Roban advises “Limit fluid intake two hours before bed; keep legs elevated during the day or wear compression socks; avoid caffeine and alcohol; and get exercise every day.”

There’s a double-edged sword I’m faced with as well. Because I know that even a droplet of water before bed will make me wake up mid-sleep, I must be mindful of ingesting sleep capsules or supplements. So often, I’m at a loss. Interestingly enough, I was recently sent a starter kit from the brand Mind+Beauty. They provide various oils to meet particular needs (ie. energy, calm, uplift, and focus). Sleep happens to be one of them, which is perfect because the oils are applied to the face for use. If you use a face oil as part of your nighttime skincare routine anyway, may as well get added benefits. This is made with sweet almond, moringa, evening primrose and jojoba oils (for general care)—and verbena, guava leaf, laurel leaf, sage and galbanum for sleep in particular.

Waking Up With Anxiety

If I’m going through a major bout of anxiety, sometimes I’ll spend an entire night waking up in three-minute interval panics. If you struggle with anxiety before bed and can’t sleep through the night, Dr. Roban has some guidance for you.

“Journal your anxious and negative thoughts before bed so they’re less likely to intrude your thoughts at night,” she says. “Have a meditation or mindfulness practice. Learn how to slow your breathing with core breathing exercises and do these before bed. No electronics at least one hour before bed and definitely not if you wake in the middle of the night. You can also do yoga stretches before bed and learn cognitive distractions for your mind. Listening to guided meditations, relaxing music or white noise can also help.”

If how to go to sleep fast is your major concern, I’ve been using sound bath audio on YouTube. It will knock you out quick!


You know the conversation about splurging versus saving? When it comes to your bedroom mirror decor, no one will bat a lash at the sight of your HomeGoods wall adornment. Save away! But no expense should be spared when it comes to what you actually sleep in. Your bedding is a true investment, so while your throw pillows can be from Goodwill (actually, scratch that!), your mattress, sheets, comforter and the pillows you sleep on should be purchased more mindfully.

Nowadays, there are so many customizable bedding options to fit your exact preferences. I even got to design my very own Pluto Pillow—the brand actually just won CNN’s Best Pillow award. They take into consideration preferences of softness, material, height and more to develop a user’s potential dream pillow. Mine’s actually been an amazing leg rest pillow that I use every day. I also recommend bathing before bed, especially if you’re stressed. It will not only rinse away the day, but you’ll also feel cleansed and refreshed in general.

If you’re looking for another way to get to sleep fast, HERE‘s everything to know about using CBD to catch Zzzs.

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