Up until recently, I used to have problems sleeping. I would either struggle to get off to sleep, or I would fall asleep and wake up at least once in the night. Rarely would I feel well-rested and it really started to affect my mood and productivity. Cue grumpy Helen (sorry Dan) and I really struggled to focus on work. I would count down the hours until bedtime, yet I was met with just another rubbish nights sleep.
Here are a few things I’ve experimented with to try to sort out my sleep struggles.
What you do during the day can have an impact on your sleep. I found stress and anxiety were having a massive impact on my sleep pattern. I’m really trying to work hard on relaxing in the hours before bed. Although yes, it’s easier than it sounds. If I feel anxious, I have started to write my thoughts down, whether it be in my journal, writing the blog, or just on a scrap of paper that I will rip up when I’ve finished.
I’ve also tried to incorporate yoga into my routine, and even if I just use the breathing exercises, I find that can really help. Taking a bath with a lovely scented bath bomb or bubble bath is also incredibly relaxing.
I think it’s easy to underestimate how powerful establishing a sleep routine can be in the whole eradicating sleep problems. I never used to think about it, and I would go without a decent sleep in the week and then sleep in at the weekend. Cue Sunday night syndrome! Now, I aim to go to bed at 10. I usually read for 15-20 minutes until I feel sleepy. If I don’t have to get up the next day, I will still set an alarm, so I aim to get around 7-8 hours sleep, which I’ve found is about right for me.
One of the best things you can do is avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee and alcohol for at least two hours before bed, but the longer, the better. Instead, try a nice herbal tea, I’ve tried a few, but the Sainsbury Bedtime Infusion sleep tea tastes nice and seems to do the trick (not sponsored, we just like it).
Switch of Technology
Try to avoid screens at least an hour before bed. I’ve been turning the sound off and putting my phone face down. Just having a quick peek at notifications before bed. I try to avoid engaging in anything too exciting I’ve spotted online. Unless it’s essential, I make a note to check it out in the morning.
Make sure your bedroom environment is conducive to getting a good nights sleep. The room should be dark enough, with a nice cool temperature, quiet and comfortable. Make sure your bedding is right for you. Make sure your pillows are comfortable and try variations of sheets, duvets and a blanket if you find you get too hot in the night.
I always spray my pillows with a lavender spray just before I brush my teeth, so it has time to dry. I’ve only just ran out of the This Works Deep Sleep spray, but I’ve made my own replacement by adding a few drops of lavender oil to argan oil into one of those holiday spray bottles.
As I mentioned, I like to read a book. I’m a huge fan of thrillers, but I’ve opted for a Jane Fallon in the hopes it doesn’t stimulate my mind too much. Once I get used to reading before bed, I’ll be reverting to a good thriller and see how it goes.
What do you do to help you sleep?
Lots of love,