MEET ALANNA MCGINN – SLEEP EXPERT, FOUNDER OF GOOD NIGHT SLEEP SITE AND THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE #SMASHTESSFAM
While the last year has brought a lot more time at home for many of us, we’ve learned that proximity to our beds doesn’t always mean we’re getting more rest. If anything, many of us have traded in social burnout for everyday burnout. We’ve lost the separation between work and home and added the dreaded zoom fatigue. Our home is no longer the place to escape and shut off – it's become the place where everything happens – from work to happy hours to sleep.
To make our homes more comfortable, and our tired eyes more rested, we reached out to sleep expert and founder of Good Night Sleep Site, Alanna McGinn, to share her tips for getting better rest in our newly multi-purpose homes. So slip into your comfiest Romper and get light those soothing candles, better sleep is possible with a little help! We’re excited to welcome Alanna as the newest member of the #smashtessfam and a sleep expert with help you need to ease your burnout with better rest.
You are a sleep expert! Can you tell our readers a bit about your job?
I have been helping families sleep better since 2007. It was important for me to create sleep support and programs that the entire family could learn and benefit from. Helping our babies and children sleep better is so important and always where we need to start because if they aren’t sleeping then we aren’t sleeping!
We have to remember though that even tween and teens sleep struggles can still pop up, and even once our kids are sleeping well, we may be struggling with our own sleep issues. All ages may need support and guidance towards a good night’s sleep, and we provide 1:1 and Online Sleep Programs to educate you on the sleep needs of your child or yourself while also supporting you through the process of implementing your sleep plan.
How did you start Good Night Sleep Site? What are some benefits clients may get from your programs and/or workshops?
When I became a parent for the first time, I knew nothing about sleep, or how much I wouldn’t be getting! Much like the families that we support. It was important to me that I learn what I could do to put the right sleep plan together for my child. Once I had her sleeping well, I realized I wanted to help other families do the same. It was then when I became certified and started Good Night Sleep Site when my second and third, the twins, were 10 months old and we now have a team of almost 20 certified sleep consultants throughout Canada and the US.
The most important benefit to working with a Good Night Sleep Site consultant is our certification training, and continued education. All our consultants are trained through The Family Sleep Institute, recognized as one of the few in-depth and extensive certification institutes and a leader in the industry. We pride ourselves in our trusted ongoing education and go above and beyond in all the support we offer our families. At the end of the day, the plan we put together is only a small part of the process. It’s the support we offer our families as we go through the plan that results in ultimate sleep success for everyone!
With many people working from home, and always having work on their mind and close to their fingertips, what are your best tips to get a restful night’s sleep?
While we’ve been quarantining in our homes, our bedrooms may have become the catch-all room. Our home office, kids' hangout spot, home gym. It’s important to clear that clutter and create an inviting sleep environment.
We should be sleeping 85% of the time that we are in bed, and we always want to make sure that our bedrooms are set up for sleep (and sex) only in order to create a positive association between sleep and your bed. It’s when we are spending a lot of awake time in our bed, surfing, streaming, or reading where we find that people really start struggling with falling asleep and the tossing and turning begins.
So, what can you do to set up your sleep sanctuary? Start by removing the clutter and distractions. And that may be hard to do during the day because you have to work in your room or your child may be online learning and their room that has to become their classroom now, but you can make sure that when work and school is done for the day you can still tidy up and put things away so that you aren’t staring at things like your stressful work files right before you go to bed.
You talk about the benefits of rest being as important as a good night's sleep. Can you talk to our #smashtessfam a bit about that?
Many of us think that sleep and rest are the same thing. They aren’t and even though we got some sleep does not mean that we are in fact rested. There are different types of rest that we need and when we don’t achieve these types of rest, we could be dealing with a society that is suffering from a rest deficit that may be producing:
chronicallytired and chronically burned-out individuals.
What are the different types of rest that people can aim to achieve?
A few types of rest that people could aim to achieve are:
We are a society that is on sensory overload. The bright lights, computer screens, background noise, let’s throw in our tenth zoom call of the week, this can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed.
This is where it’s really important to limit our sensory input by limiting sights and sounds. Perhaps it means unplugging at the end of the day or setting a tech curfew an hour before bedtime. We need moments throughout the day or night where we can deprive our senses for a little bit.
This is important for those who need to problem solve or brainstorm new ideas.
This is where you want to focus on your surroundings and what you are allowing in. Often when we need to refocus, we turn to TV or social media but I’m going to encourage more creative rests like a walk outdoors where you are paying attention to the nature around you or reading a book and getting lost in the story. We want to release the innovative ideas and feelings of passion so surround yourself with what will do that.
This is for the people pleaser, we all know one, and perhaps you are one. This is the dependable person, who always say yes, even when they want to say no. It’s important for this person to focus on emotional rest by learning to express their feelings and understand that we don’t have to please everyone. It’s okay to say no and be truthful in how you feel. If you’re not okay, it’s okay to share that.
This is where we need to take a look at the relationships that fill our tanks up and the ones that empty it. Surround yourself with people who get you. Who are positive and support you no matter what? Sometimes we need to purge those in our lives who are too toxic and exhausting. This can even go as far as social media. Sometimes we need to reevaluate our social feeds and perhaps unfollow those that don’t give us the joy we need throughout the day.
Do you recommend any sleep aids for people with insomnia or anxiety?
Incorporating some relaxing sleep tools can help you sleep better. Eye masks, mediation and mindful breathing apps, aromatherapy, journals, or something that is gaining a lot of popularity, a weighted blanket. It provides a firm, deep pressure stimulation that affects the nervous system and raises our serotonin levels, which allows us to calm down and relax, and have a decrease in anxiety.
What is your fave way to rock your Romper?
I’m such a homebody and I love my Sunday Romper because it’s super comfy to lounge at home but then throw on a jean jacket, a pair of statement earrings and some heels and you’re off to grab a drink with the ladies!
What does your ultimate Sunday look like?
One thing that is important in our family is that we reserve one day off on the weekend, and I protect that fiercely. We keep tech minimal, and we make sure to make no plans and that day is usually Sunday. It consists of a family walk, perhaps a little laundry and house tidy to prepare for the week ahead, and always a family movie, or two!
Fave pump-up song?
Oh gosh, I have so many! Throw on anything ‘80s and I’m there but I’m a rock chick at heart. Give me a great guitar riff and killer vocals and I’m officially pumped up!
What does being a part of the #smashtessfam mean to you?
I started off falling in love with the Rompers as everyone does but being a Canadian company myself it has been truly inspirational to watch Smash + Tess grow into a successful worldwide powerhouse! It’s a brand I respect and one I happily share with my own community. I’m honoured to be part of the #smashtessfam!
Want to feel rested AND look cute? Check out our newest Perfect Set to give you ultimate comfort not only at home but when you hit the town as well! Styled great on the couch, but also with your fave bomber jacket and crisp sneaks. This set really IS perfect!
You can shop the set here.