The Good Sleep Guide

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I love sleep. I love my bed. I love cosying up under the covers at night to watch a film, and waking up in the morning with daylight sneaking in through the curtains and the cats curled up at my feet. I'm one of these people that could fall asleep anywhere, and I struggle to stay awake when in any sort of warm, dark room (which is a nightmare at the cinema, driving down the motorway at night, or in any sort of meeting containing a power point presentation) I'm that friend at a sleepover who would happily make a bed on the floor with a tea towel folded up as a pillow, and has drifted off in the nightclub toilet many a time. Sleep is my friend, and it seriously effects my mood and the whole of my day if I haven't had enough zzz's the night before. However as I get older and I've noticed that certain life events trigger bad sleeping patterns for me. Some nights I really struggle to fall asleep, or I wake up lots during the night, or feel like I have been drugged when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning. Normally this is to do with what sort of food and drink I've been consuming, my work schedule, general life worries and deadlines, and sharing my bed with a boyfriend and two cats who like to visit in the dead of night. 

On the topic of sleep, my friends over at Joe Blogs Network shared 10 top sleep tips by Dr Lauren Kita with me, so I thought I'd share plus my own suggestions with you. Everything listed below is just from my personal experience, and what works for me might not work for you! If you do have persistent trouble with not getting enough sleep (or even having too much) it can be detrimental to not only your physical health but your emotional and mental health too, so I'd definitely say have a chat with your doctor. Here's my personal guide to a good night's sleep:


Evening pampering
If I've got a free evening with no plans, I like to take a couple of self indulgent hours winding down before bed. Once a week I try to have a night where I apply a face mask, go for a candle lit bath, then cosy up in my dressing gown and paint my nails/apply some fake tan before bed. It totally chills me out, and waking up in the morning looking and feeling pampered is a plus too!

Exercise
Sometimes I like to wind down in the complete opposite direction from the pampering mentioned above! I tend to prefer exercising in the evening rather than the mornings and after a hard work out there's nothing nicer than coming home for a hot shower and putting some fresh pj's on. It's a sure fire way to tire you out before bed, but if you don't fancy some evening cardio then Yoga or Pilates could be a good option too. Claire told me about 30 days of Yoga with Adriene, which you can do from the comfort of your own home, so I'm thinking about trying that out soon.

Nice smells
Bit of a strange one but I find certain scents to be very comforting in sending me off to sleep. Whenever I was little and had a blocked up nose, my Mum used to pop a couple of drops of Karvol on my pillow and I always remember waking up in the morning feeling so much better. As an adult, I find some drops of lavendar oil on my pillow to be really comforting. I don't like burning candles at night as you need to get back up to blow them out, so I tend to burn a lot of incense (much to Pete's dismay) I normally use Nag Champa, which my Mum burns at home so it's got a real cosy and warm sense of nostalgia for me too.

Sounds, not sights
I'm a bad one for feeling sleepy, and bringing the laptop into a bed to watch a film, only for it to make me feel more alert again! I get a much better sleep drifting off listening to something instead. In the past I've listened to a mixture of podcasts, ted talks, sound effect apps (I love the noise of rain and waves!) or my 'sleepy music' playlist on spotify. I absolutely swear by this Guided Sleep Meditation video on youtube. It's helped me get to sleep when I have been really struggling with life in general and would tend to lie awake worried. The recording is only 30 minutes long and I don't think I've ever made it to the end!


Waking up properly
How you feel when you wake up in the morning can be less to do with the quality/length of sleep you've had during the night, but actually how and when you wake up. Ever wondered why you can feel alright at work on 5 hours sleep as you would after 8 hours? Or how if you sleep for 8 hours plus, you end up feeling a bit rubbish? Our bodies work in sleep cycles, so it makes sense that we feel more refreshed waking up during a light phase of sleep. I've been using this Lumie Bodyclock, which simulates sunrise and sunset to help you fall asleep and wake up gradually. It's definitely made a difference and I don't feel as sluggish in the morning, when my iphone alarm normally wakes me up like I've been hit across the head with a frying pan.

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My suggestions above may seem like 'common sense' to most, with sleep seeming like such a simple and natural thing to do - however millions of people face problems with it at some point. Can you pinpoint a particular time in your life that you had trouble sleeping? And if so, what did you do/are doing to overcome it?


 Thank you to Joe Blogs Network for sending me a pack of sleep goodies as inspiration for writing this post. Now I'm off to catch some zzz's...

7 comments:

  1. I really love your blog and this post has some really good tips! I agree exercise is great for tiering yourself out haha I also like to read before bed :)
    ruthiethursday.wordpress.com
    Ruth x

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  2. Great post with some really handy tips. I'm having trouble sleeping through the night at the mo so will get me some lavender oil and check out the meditation sleep music. Thank you for sharing. Sammie http://www.feastingisfun.com

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  3. My problem is that I'm on my phone in bed and then find myself an hour later still wide awake and unable to switch off. I've tried to limit myself to 10/15 minutes of phone activity in bed. My room has white curtains which is rather annoying as my room doesn't black out at all, the littlest of light wakes me up. I find it harder to wake up in the morning and started using Sleep Cycle to wake me up slowly, its helping but god I'm just not a morning person :)

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  4. I love going for swims at about 5/6 in the evenings, really helps me sleep.
    Love Hayley,
    Water Painted Dreams

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  5. Having time to pamper myself before bed really helps - I definitely need a good hour to wind down to get a decent night's sleep. x
    LilyLipstick

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  6. This isn't related to the post, but I love your gorgeous new hair colour, lady!

    I'm with you on needing a good nights sleep - if I don't get enough then I am useless the next day! It's crazy how much better and worse sleeping can make you feel: if I have a restless couple of nights then I start to feel like a zombie, while a long lie on a weekend can make me feel brand new.

    I've struggled with waking up during the night before, with relentless broken sleep leaving me feeling exhausted and stressed out. While it was ultimately down to stress in the rest of my life, exercise, cutting back on junk food, and swapping screens for a book before bed definitely helped.

    x

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  7. I know what you mean about lavender - it's such a comforting scent for going to sleep. I've got a lavender scented pillow spray, and while I'm not sure the actual spray helps me sleep better, at least I feel so much more relaxed, comfortable and happy with lavendery smelling pillows and duvet!

    Also, I really need to invest in that light bodyclock thing. I hate waking up to an alarm clock - it just feels like I'm being violently dragged from my comfortable, warm bubble!


    Laura / Middle of Adventure

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