Saturday, 5 January 2019

How To Get A Great Night's Sleep.*

I have something to admit - I'm jealous of my cat, Millie. I know that sounds weird, but when I'm desperately trying to get some shut-eye and all I can hear is her snoring away, I wish I was enjoying the 16 hours of sleep she clocks up daily. I've talked before about my issues with sleep, in particular sleep paralysis, and even though I don't experience it too much anymore, I still have chronic nightmares and the most messed-up sleep pattern.

It's hard to overemphasise the importance of sleep. It allows our body to rest and repair itself, promotes healthy brain functioning, and heals and repairs heart and blood vessels. More than that, it stops us being bloomin' miserable all day! Longer periods of poor sleep can lead to chronic health conditions, so it really is worth making an effort to get a good kip.

Thankfully there are lots of things you can try that will help get you off to the land of nod quickly - giving you the rest you deserve. 

Try to avoid stress

I know, I know - easier said than done. But going to bed with a head full of worries is never conducive to a night of sleep. Perhaps you can find a physical activity that helps relieve stress and keeps you chilled out - whether it is running, yoga, or boxing is entirely up to you. Another good tip is to give mindfulness a go. This interactive book, I Am Here Now*, is a creative guide to mindfulness, as well as a journal. It will help you train your attention to the here and now, and allow you to offload any worries onto paper, relieving the pressure somewhat!

Preparation is key

Making your bedroom the perfect place to relax is really important! Try to make sure it is a room specifically for sleeping, so you don't associate the room with checking your work emails, or gaming marathons. You spend a third of your life in bed, so picking the perfect mattress is a big deal. I tend to prefer a hard mattress, but maybe you like yours to be soft as a feather. I also find that decent bedding makes a huge difference; we live in an actual ice-box of a home, so we recently splashed out on a 15 tog duvet and it's honestly a dream. Get decent pillows too, as there is nothing worse than feeling like you're resting your head on bricks. I'm a massive fan of pillow sprays, like this Tisserand Aromatherapy Sleep Better Pillow Mist* with jasmine, sandalwood and lavender to help you switch off. It's also worth investing in an eye mask like this beautiful White Company Silk Eye Mask*. I've mentioned before that I have issues with light - if my room is too bright the chances of me getting sleep paralysis increase, so even with blinds and curtains, a silk mask helps me block it out while still being comfy enough to sleep in (and apparently helping avoid wrinkles, who knew?!).

Wind down in style

Don't underestimate the joy of a routine. It makes a huge difference to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, as it gets you into a proper circadian rhythm. I've been trying to spend a little more time winding down in the evenings, as getting ready for bed properly means I tend to fall asleep easier. I looove to have a nice warm bath in the evenings, particularly during winter. You can add anything you want to them - essential oils, bath bombs, bubble bath, or some Absolute Aromas De-stress Himalayan Bath Salts*. They are specially developed to help you relax, with an unusual wintery scent including essential oils like frankincense, clove and lavender. You might also light some candles to get you into a calm mood - like this White Company Winter Votive* (scented with cinnamon, clove and orange) - but make sure to blow it out before you nod off! And what about a warming mug of tea to finish off the evening? While avoiding caffeine as much as possible during the day is sure to help when it comes to bedtime, you could still treat yourself to a cup of Pukka Night Time tea*. It contains oat flower, lavender and limeflower to send you off to the land of nod. A cup of tea and a book is a great way to get ready for sleep - put your phone down (try the screentime downtime feature to help prevent you playing games or scrolling Twitter) as the blue light is likely to keep you up.

Don't be afraid of getting extra help

At my worst, I was experiencing sleep paralysis more than once a day. Even when I wasn't having sleep paralysis, I was so anxious and tense that I couldn't sleep and was suffering from insomnia. I was constantly exhausted and I was utterly miserable. But because I was "just tired" I didn't feel like I could ask for help. If you're suffering from a sleep disorder like insomnia, there are options that you can try! Phenergan® Night Time is a short-term sleep aid that helps to treat insomnia in adults, breaking the sleepless cycle and helping you get a great night's sleep. It's only available from behind pharmacy counters (RRP £4.79 for 14 tablets) so pop into a local chemist and see if it is an option for you. You can visit their site here for more information.

Sleeplessness is horrible, and if you're struggling to get a good eight hours I do hope some of these tips will help you. Hopefully you'll get be like Millie soon enough, falling asleep at the drop of a hat!

Do you have any tips on how to get a great night's sleep? I'd love to hear your ideas!
*I was sent this sleep kit by the lovely team behind Phenergen, but there was no obligation to feature it. All opinions are my own :)

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