I’ve got a love hate relationship with bedtime, and with sleep in general. I am an absolute afternoon nap queen, in fact I could probably go back to bed for a cheeky 2 hour kip by 9am most days, but when it comes to getting my solid 8 hours – and in reality I probably need longer – at night my brain switches to overdrive. I know this isn’t an uncommon problem and so in the
interest of science interest of blogging I’ve put lots of different sleep-inducing methods to the test and come up with a list of 10 things I found that actually makes a difference to how easy it is to fall asleep and stay that way all night.
Most of the things I do have become semi ritualistic. I like to have a clear bedtime routine that tells my body – and my mind – that it’s time to switch off and rest. Above all I think one of the most important things is deciphering firstly, what works for you and secondly, how many hours sleep you actually need each night. I know personally that my optimum is probably around 10 hours, though in reality its rare I get 8 and sometimes I survive on as little as 4, which quite honestly is just a bit silly and there’s rarely a good excuse for it.
1. STOP SCROLLING INSTAGRAM AT MIDNIGHT
If you want to fall asleep soundly then you have got to put all tech away at least an hour before you intend to go to bed. That includes Netflix! There’s some science-y bit about how blue light isn’t good for your brain, but mostly I just find it to be a huge distraction. I tell myself I’ll have one last little scroll and…oh hey look! It’s 3am and I’ve ended up 8 months deep on my friend’s aunt’s mother in law’s cat’s Instagram feed.
2. GET AN ALARM THAT ISN’T YOUR PHONE
For the same reason as above, don’t rely on your phone to be your alarm clock because that inevitable means you flick it on right before bed to check its set and accidentally on purpose end up on Twitter. It also means that in the morning the very first thing you do is end up immediately online which just isn’t all that healthy. I love Wake Up Lights, not least because they help me with the darker Autumn/Winter mornings.
3. TREAT YOURSELF TO REALLY NICE BEDDING
Make your bed a place that you want to get into every evening. It doesn’t have to be super expensive, just think about the conditions you sleep best in. If you like to be cool at night then a high thread count cotton or linen is probably best, whereas if you fancy all the snuggly vibes then go for a soft jersey bedding set.
4. BUY THE RIGHT PILLOW
The right pillow can make all the difference to how well you sleep at night. Buying a Tempur memory foam pillow honestly changed the way I sleep and improved back and neck pain that I was suffering with throughout the day. Yes, it was expensive, but in reality I probably wouldn’t spent the same amount on a nice coat and yet this is something I’ve used every single night for the last two years. You can usually test pillows out at bed shops or department stores and it’s well worth getting the right shape and firmness for you, you can even get ones specifically for side sleepers!
5. CREATE A NIGHT TIME RITUAL
For me, I like to follow my evening skin care routine then have a cup of herbal tea and read a book snuggled up in bed. Each step reminds me that it’s time to wind down.
6. HERBAL SLEEPY TEA
There are lots of brands that sell (frankly, bloody expensive) night time blends and I’ve tried a lot of them. I’ve found the Clipper Sleep Easy Infusion genuinely helps me nod off. Basically, it tastes really nice and its a flavour that – for me – has become synonymous with falling asleep so I think drinking it reminds my body to stop for the day.
7. LIGHT A CANDLE BY YOUR BED
I know this probably sounds a bit silly, but a nice relaxing bedtime scent like lavender, chamomile or vetiver can be really soothing, as can the warm glow of a candle light. I burn candles pretty much all day long (is there such thing as a candle mortgage?) and I try to match my scents to the mood and avoid burning anything too uplifting in the evening.
8. INVEST IN HIGH QUALITY LAVENDER OIL
My mum is really into aromatherapy and for the last few months I’ve been putting a drop or two of lavender on my pillow, and sometimes on my pulse points (be careful – you should only put pure oils on your skin and lots that you can buy cheaply online are blended with harsh additives) as I climb into bed each night. Even just sniffing the bottle helps me to zen out. I love essential oils so much that I’ve recently joined as a doTerra wellness advocate, so if anyone wants a bottle then I’m ya gal!
9. COSY PYJAMAS OR IN THE BUFF?
Being comfortable at night is really important there’s nothing worse than waking up with a big wedgey at 4am. True story. Sometimes I’m just happiest sleeping naked but I do love buying soft, cool pyjamas to pop on in the evening after a bath or shower. I’m absolutely obsessed with these palm print ones from ASOS at the moment.
10. A GOOD BOOK
If you really can’t sleep then resist the temptation to reach for your phone and instead read a good book. I think the trick is to get the lighting right so that you rest somewhere between ‘holy shit I’m reading on the sun’ and long-term eye strain damage. The only downside to this is that I’m notoriously bad at saying ‘one more chapter!’ and then not looking up for another six. A chapter or two before bed whilst you’re sipping your tea can help your brain to wind down and your eyes to get sleepy.
Have you got any bed time tips that I’ve missed off?