We spend around a third of our lives sleeping, or we should be at any rate. Sounds a lot doesn’t it? A whole third of our existence spent being unproductive, not contributing towards our career goals or striving towards completing that bucket list or curating that perfect Insta feed… I’m exhausted just thinking about the never-ending list of all the to do lists we’ve trapped ourselves into. And with lives getting ever busier – demanding jobs, families to look after, life admin, social expectations – sometimes taking care of ourselves can fall by the wayside. But with sleep deprivation (which is less than 7 hours’ sleep) negatively impacting your waking life (poor concentration, poor memory, increased sickness), there are strong incentives to improve our sleep hygiene. Wellness coach Helen Peckman from Sleep Body Mind confirms: ‘people underestimate the impact of good sleep hygiene on their overall wellbeing. Healthy sleep practice encourages better eating habits, provides more energy and generally improves our mood and productivity’. The Sleep Foundation defines sleep hygiene as ‘a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness’. Does that just sound like a pipe dream right now? I’ve previously discussed bedtime routines in my post Sleeping Beauty: Top Tips for Improved Sleep, but if you’re not waking up rested and refreshed, maybe it’s time to try out these additional bedtime rituals to encourage healthy sleep habits.
Create a bedtime ritual
Whether that’s soaking in a relaxing bath steeped with detoxifying Himalayan bath salts, lighting your favourite scented candle, reading a book or all three, creating a calm bedtime routine will signal to your brain that it is time to wind down. Mine currently consists of three Balance Me products from their Sleep range: lighting the cedarwood and lavender-scented soy wax candle, spritzing the refreshing Hyaluronic Mist and applying the CBD Concentrate onto my wrists.
Whether in the form of bath salts, cleansing balm, essential oil or pillow spray, lavender is known for its soothing and relaxing properties. Not to be confused with lavender oil which is perfume, lavender essential oil will send you to slumberland by relaxing your mind and body as well as improving your sleep quality. Try Made by Coopers cruelty-free and vegan Sleepy Head Aromatherapy soy candle for an aromatic lavender and frankincense scent.
Make CBD your new best friend
CBD in health and wellness is going nowhere, and it holds no better place than in your evening routine. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant. Rest assured, this is a completely legal extract with none of the mind-altering side-effects. CBD oil is thought to calm stressed minds, so try Balance Me’s Hyaluronic Mist and CBD Concentrate which contains CBD oil, tension-relieving cedarwood and sleep-inducing lavender.
Massage out the stress
To encourage a deep state of relaxation there’s nothing quite like a massage, which can reduce anxiety levels and improve sleep quality. Using an oil featuring the comforting frankincense supports production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone, and if you’re lucky enough to have a partner who’s willing to assist, even better!
Put a lid on those midnight panics
A constantly whirring mind is not conducive to a night’s rest. Work deadline, forgotten birthday, incomplete chore… Those sudden panicky moments that jolt you back to consciousness just as you’re drifting off to sleep can be banished from your mind for the next 8 hours: just jot down your thoughts or to-dos in a beautiful personalised PAPIER notebook kept on your bedside table. Resist the urge to use your phone for this as the blue light it emits messes with a healthy sleep pattern.
To encourage optimum sleep the body needs to be at the right temperature. This can be achieved with a bedroom between 15 and 19C, and some light, loose fitting nightwear to help keep skin cool, helping you to fall asleep faster rather than toss and turn due to irritating synthetic fabrics. With cocooning nightwear and loungewear booming in the last few years we’re spoilt for choice: brushed cotton pyjamas, silk shirts or linen nightdresses, anything goes as long as the fibres are natural and the fit is loose and breathable. And if you’re happy sleeping in the nude, even better.
If you’re not a morning person, this may be just the thing for you: the Lumie Bodyclock. This alarm clock essentially mimics nature with a gradually brightening light in the mornings and a soft fading ‘sunset’ in the evening, helping to send you gently off to sleep.
Go to bed earlier!
I know this one sounds obvious, but the earlier you go to bed, the more time you’re likely to have under the duvet.
What are your tips to achieve good sleep hygiene? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
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