A good night’s sleep allows the brain to take in new information and strengthen our memories, as well as having a positive impact on our mood, energy level and ability to concentrate. However, if we don’t get a good rest every night it can make it difficult to complete even simple tasks. It’s crucial to our health that we learn to sleep well and take the time to recoup from our busy lives when the sun goes down, both for immediate and long-term benefits. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about sleep and my relationship with it (as well as how I can ensure I need to get a good eight hours when I need it most,) and these little things really make all the difference; here’s how you can wake up happy and get the most from every single day.
A SPACE THAT’S ALL ABOUT SLEEP
If your bedroom is a space in which you eat, work, socialise, relax and sleep it could be confusing your brain. When you slip between the sheets it doesn’t know whether to expect a Gilmore Girls marathon, a chicken korma or an eight hour sleep – so creating a space that’s just all about relaxation and sleep is really important. Although if you’re in shared accommodation or renting just a room this is difficult, it’s not impossible; little changes to the layout of the room and even keeping work to a desk can go some way in helping to at least associating your bed with sleep and sleep alone. Treating yourself to new bedsheets, comfy pillows, an Instagrammable throw and a couple of candles on your bedside table will make you feel much more inclined to switch off and enjoy those precious pre-sleep moments.
AN HOUR LONG SWITCH OFF
This has been the absolute key for me and the one tip I would give anyone struggling with their sleeping patterns: turn off all your gadgets and gizmos and hour before you go to sleep, allowing your brain to gradually slow down and get into the right state for slumber. Our smartphones, tablets, laptops and even televisions emit light that tells the brain it’s daylight and therefore time to stay alert; removing these from your immediate surroundings (instead swapping for a good book or listening to a podcast) is the best way to prepare mentally and physically. There’s nothing quite like snuggling beneath the sheets and reading a few chapters of a great book, plus it will naturally start the signals essential for a great nights sleep. Popping a few drops of Bach’s Rescue Remedy an hour before I want to fall asleep also helps get me in the right frame of mind and really does make all the difference.
THE POWER OF SCENT
It’s well known that scents including lavender and chamomile can have a calming effect and help your mind to switch off from the hustle and bustle of modern life. They relax the senses and help to transport you to a place that’s all about breathing deeply and forgetting the stresses of the day. I’m a big fan of pillow sprays, candles and fragrance diffusers that offer calming and relaxing benefits, as well as body lotions and soothing pampering oils that you can massage into skin while breathing in the aroma. Lighting a candle, spritzing your pillow and massaging in some oil can go a long way to helping you switch off.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE A GOOD PAMPER
For me, the most effective way to ensure a better night’s sleep is to have a really good pamper before I snuggle up with my duvet. A steaming hot bath, a relaxing face mask, a fabulous book and a cup of herbal tea really helps to get me in the mood to chill out. Although it’s not possible to embrace this routine every day, I do take elements and undertake them within a mini pre-bed ritual; even breathing in the scent of my bedside candle or listening to the sounds on my Philips Somneo Sleep & Wake-Up Light (read my full feature here) helps to rid myself of the stresses I was thinking about ten minutes before, signalling to my brain it’s time to get ready for sleep. Make sure you also apply something lovely to your skin before bed too, taking those few moments to massage skin and get the blood flowing so you wake up looking and feeling refreshed; if you need some recommendations, check out some of my current faves in this post.
SHUT OUT THE WORLD
Once you’re ready for bed a silk eye mask and a pair of ear plugs will help to shut out any unnecessary light or noise, so you can get the rest you deserve. Although I’m not a light sleeper, I do tend to wake up multiple times in the night and seem to hone in on sounds around me; focusing on the click of a clock, the engines of cars outside or even my hamster having a drink, can prevent me from getting back to sleep until I hit the point of exhaustion, but a pair of ear plugs and a sleep mask really does make all the difference – especially now the mornings are getting lighter and the birds are chirping at 4am. (I’m currently trying out the Bose SleepBuds, so a feature will follow on those!) The feel of a silk eye mask also helps me to feel all the more pampered and looks after my delicate eye area, turning a daily ritual into a somewhat luxurious experience.
Take the time to enjoy your pre-bedtime moments, treating yourself in the way you deserve to be, and I assure you you’ll wake up happy and refreshed – ready to face whatever challenges the next few hours throws your way.
How do you ensure you wake up happy?
SHOP MY FAVE NIGHTTIME TREATS