Good sleep is the foundation of good health. We all know that, but do we pay enough attention to it? I went from being a great sleeper, boasting a solid 8-9 hours a night to a chronic insomniac managing only 3-4, hours of broken sleep. Sound familiar?
Whether it’s stress, illness, our brains turning over at 100mph or noisy neighbours, at some point in our lives, most of us will be affected by poor sleep. For me, it was a systemic side effect of the steroids I had used for my eczema. It was a problem that had no-quick fix, so I created a toolbox of things that deeply relaxed me, helping to send me into an almost meditative state.
Ironic that I’m posting this the day after a night of absolutely terrible sleep, which is, thankfully, an unusual occurrence now. On the occasion it does happen, I feel safe in the knowledge that I have any one of the below to fall back on when I just can’t drift off…
Oil, mist, pillow or candle. Extremely relaxing and smells beautiful.
If I’m desperate, I make a tea using 3 bags and about half a cup of boiling water (not enough to make me need a pee).
Dead Sea Salt/Epsom Baths
A hot bath with either of these is relaxing and detoxifying. Add a drop or two of lavender oil and pour in some strong chamomile tea for the ultimate experience.
This seems to be my answer to everything, but it really does matter when it comes to bedtime. Put that phone down, turn the TV off and don’t reach for the iPad. The light from screens and all the activity going on in the virtual world keeps your brain stimulated, which is exactly the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
Dim the Lights
Create a relaxing atmosphere by using light from lamps or candles rather than bright overhead lights.
I don’t follow any particular pattern as I find myself counting which only activates my brain. I just breathe really deeply, trying to reach further into my lungs each time, until I feel my shoulders drop, muscles loosen and mind quiet.
De-clutter Your Bedroom
Now I sound like your mother. Your bedroom is your sanctuary. Not somewhere to watch TV and not a dumping ground. Mess and clutter (in the bedroom) creates mess and clutter in your mind.
A pure silk, blackout eye mask, to be exact. Not as expensive as it sounds, you can pick one up for about £7 online. I take mine everywhere and wear it every night, whether I’m able to sleep or not. The blackout does as it says on the tin – there’s nothing worse than trying to get to sleep with a bright streetlight or the moon shining in through the curtains. The silk is not only hypoallergenic but is said to moisturize skin and decrease wrinkles. So far, so true.
In addition to the above, I swear by good bedding and good pyjamas as a general rule. I was once told that your mattress is one of the most important investments you will ever make (you spend approximately one third of your life in bed.) It’s true. I LOVE my mattress and look forward to getting into bed every night.
HIP HIP HOORAY!!
The lovely Lesley of Essence + Alchemy - a beautiful small batch botanical candle + home fragrance laboratory – would like to offer readers of Fodder + Plonk a 15% discount on anything ordered from her site between today and June 11th 2016. My current favourite is her ‘Unwind’ atmosphere mist – I spray it on my pillow, around the room when I’m feeling stressed and I even wear it as a natural perfume! Go wild, enjoy her shop and enter FODDERPLONK15 at the checkout to receive the discount.