Goop goddess Gwyneth Paltrow is all about shelling out occasionally impractical lifestyle advice, but there is definitely merit to her latest craze that will have you rethinking the way you sleep. So, just what is clean sleeping? Here's what to know about this Goop-approved trend. While the name implies it might mean taking a shower and hopping into a bed of fresh sheets, clean sleeping is actually the practice of prioritizing sleep above everything else, which makes sense.
Getting enough sleep is kind of like gassing up your car. You can't drive very far once the tank hits empty, and eventually your car will stall and leave you stranded on the side of the road. Think of your body like a car, and sleep like that premium gas you usually forgo in favor of the cheap stuff.
"Sleep plays such a powerful role in determining your appetite and energy levels that I believe it should be your first priority — even before you think about your diet," Paltrow and Goop editors explained in the Daily Mail, adding that poor sleep can lead to a number of health problems, including inflammation and poor immunity. It can also potentially mess with your memory.
Is sleep the key to everything?
How To Practice Clean Sleeping
Paltrow's new book, Goop Clean Beauty, touts the magic of clean sleeping. Personally, in my 20s I worked three jobs, went to school full time, and went out most nights. When I hit my 30s I was no longer able to function on little-to-no sleep without looking like I'd been hit by a bus, and acting like a toddler who'd missed a nap. That's because our bodies need sleep in order to repair and rejuvenate, according to Dr. Laura Lefkowitz, leading nutritional scientist and hormone adviser.
Paltrow has an entire regimen she recommends, but you can just take what makes sense to you and leave the rest. Here are her steps to clean sleeping your way to a better life.
1. Get 9-10 Hours Of Shut Eye Every Night
Most experts agree with this. Arianna Huffington has even declared sleep the next feminist issue. And, while the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for adults a night, most women don't get that.
2. Go To Bed At The Same Time Every Night
According to the Huffington Post, Paltrow recommends going to bed at the same time every night, preferably by 10 p.m. Wow, that sure sounds early. A study reported in the Daily Mail said that going to bed at the same time each night helps your body filter out stress hormones and stabilizes your circadian (internal) body clock.
"Exposure to consecutive days of sleep loss can impair cardiovascular function and these negative effects might be enhanced when changes in feeding and/or sleep-wake habits lead to a circadian disruption," study author Dr. Daniela Grimaldi said in the Daily Mail.
Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program, told the Huffington Post that going to bed at the same time every night makes sense, but that you should choose a time that works for you versus stressing over light's out by 10 p.m. because, seriously.
3. Power Down Your Devices Before Bed
You probably already know this, but the light emitted from your phone, computer, and tablet promote wakefulness. In order to successfully drift off to dreamland, you might want to consider giving yourself a screen curfew. Since sleep is supposed to be relaxing and rejuvenating, consider activities before bed that promote this feeling. A bath, or reading a good book are both good ideas.
4. Curb Your Afternoon Caffeine
While you might be tempted to mainline coffee throughout the day Lorelai Gilmore style, having caffeine after 2 p.m. can mess with your sleep, Luisa Brenton reported on Collective Evolution. If you must have coffee, go for decaf. I won't tell anyone, I promise. And, I'll be sipping the decaf, too.
The Huffington Post reported that Paltrow recommends practicing Yoga Nidra, a kind of yogic meditation designed to help you develop a sense of wholeness, according to Yoga International. If this isn't your jam, experts agree that any meditation is beneficial. Consider this cognitive shuffling meditation to help turn off your brain before you drift off to dreamland.
Paltrow recommends relaxing with a trigger-point head and foot rub, according to the Huffington Post. However, Dr. Kansagra said that anything that makes you feel relaxed will do the trick.
She also recommended taking magnesium, but Dr. Kansagra warned that this can actually cause problems for people who don't really need it. "Giving magnesium to otherwise healthy individuals can lead to diarrhea, which can certainly worsen sleep. Most sleep physicians would not routinely recommend magnesium supplementation," he told the Huffington Post.
The Clean Sleeping Verdict?
It's probably worth mentioning that Paltrow also recommends sleeping with an $80 copper pillowcase, which is said to help fight wrinkles and stave off bacteria, but experts call BS on this one. Dr. Joseph Krainin, the chief medical adviser for SoClean, a company that sells equipment for sanitizing sleep apnea machines, told the Huffington Post that while comfy bedding is ideal, it's not a major factor in increased sleep benefits.
If you have $80 to burn on pillowcases, then by all means, go for it. If you don't, not using this fancy pillowcase is not going to affect your sleep.
In general, this clean sleeping ritual is pretty much all common sense, and it's nothing that doctors and sleep experts haven't been saying for ages. But, if having it packaged and promoted by Goop and Paltrow makes something as vital as sleep suddenly hip and trendy, then kudos to Paltrow for getting people to take their medicine without a spoonful of sugar.