Jennifer Aniston is discussing her 10-year battle with insomnia. The Friends alum admits she still struggles with sleeping at night. Sometimes it’s work, other times just the stress of not being able to sleep is enough to keep her awake for hours.
At first, she ignored it. She thought, “‘I got this. I can go the day on five hours of sleep and I’ll make up for it over the weekend’… and over time, it was really starting to affect every single part of my daily life,” Aniston tells USA Today in a new interview.
It became more difficult for The Morning Show star to memorize lines. In her yoga and pilates workouts, she wasn’t as strong as she knew she could be. Aniston, 54, also noticed her skin would not look “as great and vibrant. I just looked exhausted.”
A good night’s sleep “is sort of the last thing on your to-do list,” Aniston says, crediting her own struggles to the reason she wants to promote National Sleep Awareness Month in March. “We’re so arrogant when we’re younger. We think, ‘Ah, I’ll sleep when I’m 80. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve said that to myself, but you can’t make up on lost sleep. It’s just a myth.”
And that’s why she is passionate about joining “Seize the Night & Day,” a campaign providing educational resources about the health consequences of insomnia. Aniston urges everyone to carve out 20 minutes every night to “turn everything off and just quiet your mind.” Though she admits it isn’t easy, it helps. “We also don’t allow ourselves the time to do the things that we need to self care because we’re so on the go, go, go go go,” Aniston says.
Aniston’s tips for a productive day and night include:
- Meditating every morning
- Limiting her screen time, especially before bed
- Ending the day with a relaxing, hot bath
The superstar actress has dealt with decades of sleep problems, from insomnia to sleepwalking to sleep anxiety, making her dread another night of “counting cracks in the walls,” she told People last April.
“I think it started somewhere in my 30s or even earlier, but you just don’t start to notice the effects of a lack of sleep when we’re younger because we’re so invincible,” Aniston said. “It began as something that I would just accept and then all of a sudden you realize the effects of your lack of sleep and how it affects your day and your work and your mind function and your physique.”
Aniston would try to go to sleep and end up watching the clock, “a big no-no,” because it just made her focus on how much time was passing and how many hours of shut-eye she was missing. “And the more I worry about it, the harder it is to fall asleep,” she said.