“I try to be in bed by 5:30–6 p.m. so I can be fully asleep by 6:30 p.m.,” she says. “This is the best-case scenario. Life gets in the way sometimes.” Ideally, Espinosa, says she generally gets six to seven hours of sleep most nights, with seven to eight being her happy place, and while she doesn’t take sleeping pills or melatonin to help her doze off in a hurry, she does take magnesium, which can help calm your parasympathetic nervous system and increase your chances of falling asleep faster, according to studies. “I take magnesium for overall health, which also helps better my sleep,” she says.
Primarily though, what helps Espinosa get good quality zzzs regularly is the consistency of her bedtimes, which allow her circadian rhythm for sleep to stay regulated and the fact that she’s awake for so long that she’s truly tired by the time her head hits the pillow each evening. This is one of the two primary ways to fall asleep fast, according to sleep expert, Michael J. Breus, PhD, aka the Sleep Doctor. The other is sleeping pills. “Both work fast but one takes longer to build up—sleep deprivation,” says Dr. Breus. “Sleep itself is not a quick process, that said, you can do lots of things to help give your brain every possible advantage like lowering your caffeine, lowering time in blue light, and meditating.”
Here’s exactly how Espinosa winds down in the evenings to fall asleep fast
“I like to get some exercise after work, whether it be at the gym or walking my dogs,” Espinosa says. Research shows that people tend to have deeper sleep on days they do at least 30 minutes of cardio. For evening exercisers like Espinosa, however, it’s important to make sure this happens well before you turn in; otherwise, it could keep you up at night.
“As our bodies cool, starting at about 10:30 at night, this is a signal for the brain to release melatonin to start the sleep process,” Dr. Breus previously told Well+Good. “If you exercise too close to bedtime, within about three to four hours, you will artificially raise the temperature of the body, and then disrupt sleep.” Since Espinosa’s work day typically ends between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., she has time to squeeze in a sweat sesh well before bedtime.
“Then I like to cook dinner, catch up on social media, or watch some TV before calling it a night.” Having a typical routine like this aids in your ability to fall asleep fast, says Dr. Breus. “You want to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time,” he says, even suggesting adding an accountability partner to make it happen.
But come the weekends, Espinosa is on a normal schedule, meaning she doesn’t go to bed (or wake up) as early as she does Monday through Friday. “Weekends are the opportunity to feel like a regular person so I take full advantage of more time,” she says. “However, I am that one person falling asleep at the movie theater because my body is exhausted from the week before.” While this disruption to her regular sleep routine can throw off her internal clock, it’s not uncommon and can lead to what’s called social jet lag, meaning come Monday morning, you may need to reach for these tips to reset your circadian rhythm, whether you’re a news anchor with an incredibly early wake up call or not.