Jillian Michaels is best known as one of the original fitness trainers on the television show, The Biggest Loser. These days, her biggest project is the Jillian Michaels Fitness App, which she says had three million downloads during 2019.
"It's one of my top tips," Michaels told me in a recent interview. "In fact, if it's a decision between having to get up really early, and getting that extra hour, and sleeping seven or eight hours, I sleep. I prioritize it. I make sleep, seven to eight hours, arguably one of the top ... priorities in my life. Before exercise, even."
Here are her top habits to help you hit that magic seven or eight hours, night after night.
1. Schedule it.
"There's just no excuse," she said. "People are like, 'I just don't have the time,' and they laugh at you. But it's like, what are you talking about? Go to bed at 10 p.m., get up at 6 a.m.. Go to bed at 11 p.m., get up at 7 a.m.. Even if you went to bed at 11 p.m. and got up at 6 a.m., that's still seven hours."
2. Consider a supplement.
Michaels said she personally takes a dosage of magnesium malate every day to combat stress that could interfere with sleep.
"You don't need to take that unless you get tremendous tension, TMJ [which causes jaw pain], feeling stressed," she said, but for her it helps. "I prefer it before people turn to weed gummies and all this crap. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I don't like that stuff." Of course, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a supplement regimen.
3. Make a to-do list.
For people whose brains are overcome with anxiety when things get quiet, Michaels suggests writing everything down each day.
"Do a to-do list for the next day. Organize your thoughts," Michaels said. "We lie there, and we think, Oh God, the s--t I have to do. Oh God, I forgot about this. All this stuff swirls in your brain. So, spend five minutes. Write it all down. If you're out of work and you're feeling stressed--Tomorrow, I'm going to redo my LinkedIn profile; I'm going to send my resume to 20 people; I'm going to do X, Y, and Z--put your thoughts on paper." Then get to bed.
4. Try a meditation app or audiobook.
"If I still can't quiet the noise, I try a meditation app or an audiobook," she said. "It allows me to focus on something that isn't stressing me out."
Her final tip: Sleep is personal. While some people find too much light interferes with sleep (try blackout shades), and others say noise is a problem (try a white noise app), there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
"Me? I freeze at night," Michaels said. "If the air is on, I'm cold and I'm miserable. But I also always have to do the whole snorkel thing: one foot out of the covers, or else I'll feel completely claustrophobic. Everybody's different."