SHE GOT ON A SLEEP SCHEDULE—AND LOST WEIGHT
Melissa Carey, customer relations; mom of a young adult and a 7-year-old, Whitesboro, NY
The problem: Years of juggling work and household and parenting chores solo stretched Melissa too thin—and without her own nighttime routine. “One night I might go to bed at 11 p.m., and another at 1 a.m.,” she says. It left her sluggish by 2 p.m.—and through the evenings after work. The solution: Melissa’s employer, The Hartford, offers the Sleepio program. She logged into a weekly webinar for six weeks that took her through a series of questions about the quality of her sleep and how she felt when she woke up. Little by little, Melissa, under the guidance of Sleepio’s sleep tracker and tips, began tweaking her schedule until she arrived at the right one: Every night she went to bed by 11:30 and woke up no later than 7 a.m. After about four weeks, she was able to wake up without the alarm.
The result: “I have energy, I feel younger, and I can do more with my family,” says Melissa, who sticks to the schedule two years later. Now when her workday is over, she plays kickball, bikes or just walks the dog with her kids, instead of sitting on the sofa watching TV. Another bonus: All that outdoor activity has led to her losing 32 pounds since starting the program.
Her advice: “A lot of us think we’re tired because we do so much—and just accept it as life,” says Melissa. “There were a few nights those first three weeks I’d have to get out of bed because I wasn’t sleepy at 11 and then try again 20 or 30 minutes later,” she says. “But once they were over, I was a happier woman.” The expert’s take: We all have a natural circadian rhythm, but it can get out of whack with erratic bedtimes, leading to insomnia and daytime drowsiness, Dr. Consens explains. A regular sleep schedule—within an hour of the same bedtimes and wake-ups seven days a week—makes your body more efficient at doing all its restorative functions; it’s why you wake up feeling refreshed.