When the alarm went off this morning, did you wake up feeling well rested or did you reluctantly roll out of bed after hitting the snooze button as many times as you dare? If you’re finding it a struggle to wake up or if you can’t make it through the day without serious bouts of sleepiness then it’s likely that you’re sleep deprived; i’m guessing that you might already know that though!
So, what can you do about it? Well, ideally you’ll be trying to get the 7-9 hours that experts tell us we need, but if you’re struggling to get that much or if you are and still waking up feeling tired then let's look at improving the quality of sleep that you’re getting.
I’ve made a list of things that can all help you drift off and sleep better, i’d love for you to try a few and them and if possible create your own evening ritual. I’m such a big believer in the power of routine and i know that if you mix a few of these ideas together to create something that suits you, you’ll be sleeping better in no time...
WARM SHOWER OR BATH: A relaxing warm shower or bath is a great way to start your evening ritual, to help calm your mind and body try using an aromatherapy product that contains naturally relaxing essential oil like lavender, chamomile or sweet orange - Here's my favourite Lavender & Sweet Orange Mineral Bath Soak
SOOTHING DRINK: Take a few minutes to enjoy a soothing caffeine free drink. Herbal tea, especially Chamomile, is a great choice to help you feel calm and relaxes.
WRITE IT DOWN: Stop thinking ahead and let yourself enjoy the evening. My favourite way to do this is to write down tomorrow’s plans, get it all out of your head and prioritise the three most important things your need to get done. It needn’t take long to do but it’ll help so much to calm your mind. .
DEEP BREATHING: During the evening and especially just before bed, find a minute or two to take at least three deep breaths. Sit up straight or lie down and become aware of the natural rhythm of your breath. Clear your mind for a moment and slowly take three deep breaths - it’s so simple and yet can be effective at any time of the day.
READ: Pick up your favourite book or magazine and read by a soft light, keep it light hearted though and avoid reading anything that will set your mind wandering or cause anxiety.
LIGHT: Keeping our circadian rhythms in check is crucial for a good night’s sleep and there are a couple of ways that you can help. First of all make sure that you enjoy as much natural light as possible during the day; grab an extra walk with the dog or wander out at lunch time. When the evening comes around, turn down the lights at least 2 hours before going to bed using soft light where possible and avoiding bright screens.
AVOID CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL & NICOTINE: These will all disrupt your sleep and you should try to avoid them 2-3 hours before bed. If they’re part of your current evening ritual then try swapping the habit for something that will help, like taking a short walk or a warm bath.
FOOD: Heavy meals can keep you awake for hours and so try not to eat too late in the evenings. Where possible you should avoid eating anything during those last couple of hours before bed but if you’re hungry and have to eat then make it light and at least an hour before you fall asleep.
QUIET: This one’s very simple but it works wonders; keep your bedroom as quiet as possible, if you have a TV in there turn it off, close the curtains to ease outdoor noise and close the bedroom door to avoid being disturbed by others in the house.
INCREASE EXCERCISE: An extra 10-30 minutes per day can make all the difference to the quality of your sleep - you don’t have to make it a gym session just grab an extra 15 minutes to play outside with the kids, do some moderate housework or walk the dog around the block.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.