Sleep – How to Nail That Bedtime Routine
Sleep – the universal activity that all humans need to survive; an essential activity to rest and recoup the body and mind. With the average adult recommended to get between 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep per night, for a poor sleeper like me, this requires a lot of commitment in a carefully timed pre-bedtime routine! If this scenario sounds familiar to you, or you’re also a poor sleeper/insomniac, then it appears that you are not alone. In a recent documentary by the BBC called ‘The truth about sleep,’ it appears that we have become a nation of poor sleepers. Reportedly, many people are either struggling to get to sleep or they wake up in the middle of the night and are not able to go back to sleep. We simply are just all exhausted! There are many reasons behind why a large chunk of the population may be sleep deprived: unbalanced diet, lack of exercise, stressful work/life balance, general lifestyle pattern, or a medical condition. So what’s the solution? Well I haven’t got a secret formula nailed down just yet but below are a few tips and tricks and sleep aids that I use to help me drift off into a peaceful sleep!
Mrs J’s Top Sleep Tips
Get moving – I’m no fitness fanatic but what I can tell you from my personal experience is that on days when I do go to the gym or attend a gym class, I tend to sleep better (as I’m exhausted) and it also helps me de-stress. With more and more people having the option to work from home, it really is quite easy to just sit in front of a laptop all day with no exposure to daylight and worse, no exercise whatsoever. On days when I know I’m going to be indoors all day, I tend to start my day with a class, go on a dog walk or, head out during lunch and listen to a podcast.
Diet – People who tend to not sleep well often find themselves turning to caffeine as their form of staying awake during the day or binging on sweet food for that energy sugar high. Whilst these work in the short term, increased amounts of caffeine can often keep you awake when it’s time to go to bed. I recently weaned myself off caffeine which, I’m not going to lie, was really, really hard and would see me struggle to stay awake past 4pm! But a few weeks later I actually felt a lot better and my general quality of sleep improved. Now old habits die hard and I’m not fully caffeine-free just yet (as I miss it too much) but I have drastically reduced my intake to one cup a day of coffee/tea or pure matcha. Oh yes matcha lovers…. don’t be fooled – just because it’s green it does not mean its caffeine free! Other diet/lifestyle tips that have helped are lighter and earlier evening meals and cutting down or out on alcohol consumption.
Baths/Showers – I love having a relaxing evening bath. Whilst yes, it is very relaxing, it does get the blood flowing around the body and tends to wake me up which makes trying to go to sleep straight after a bit of a hot and bothered experience. Tip: If you’re an evening bather or shower person, make sure you leave enough time to cool your body temperature down before hitting that pillow.
Social Media down time – Okay so we have all been warned about the phone/iPad/laptop/kindle glare that prevents us from going to sleep. While I’m pretty sure that a lot of devices have options where you can adjust that, nevertheless, why not just let us all put our phones down and pick up a book? I’m the worst at this for I wake up in the morning and check every app going and go through exactly the same routine at night. It really is the fear of missing out on something…and so, I’m making a conscious effort to flip this routine on the head. Yes I still wake up in the morning and check my phone but night times are for reading a book or a magazine.
Bedroom Environment – My sleeping environment is a key factor as to whether I can fall asleep and this may be purely unique to me but my bedroom needs to be tidy – I simply cannot sleep with piles of dirty clothes on the floor. I tend to put my bedside lamp on so that the bright bedroom light is not glaring at me and I also have blackout curtains for optimum darkness! We all love the summer months but this whole getting lighter at 5am lark is not fun for the light sleeper that I am which is why I find an eye mask essential (there is simply no light poking in to wake me up).
Sleep Aids – Finally we have sleep aids or sleep tools – items such as eye masks and ear plugs (if you have a snoring partner) – which I would consider to be an essential kit. Other more indulgent products to consider are essential oils such as lavender or chamomile, which are known to help the mind and body unwind and relax. I’m currently loving the newly launched Feather and Down range* from Boots. My top three favourite items being the Sweetdreams Soothing Body Oil £8 -perfect post bath or shower; the Sweetdreams Pillow Spray £7; and the Sweetdreams All Purpose Balm £7 – ideal for rubbing onto your temples and pulse points to relax you into a deep sleep.
Let’s hope I get a good night sleep tonight!
Mrs J xx