Let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk abut all the good things and the bad things, that may be…
We all KNOW that a good night’s sleep is so good for us physically, but it’s the short term and long-term effects on your mindset, moods, and emotions that I don’t think I ever fully realised.
A consistent sleep routine – one that sees you getting between six and eight hours of shut-eye a night – can transform your mood, and improve your skin too. ‘Beauty sleep’ isn’t just a phrase; proper sleep can lead to fewer wrinkles, a glowing complexion and brighter, less puffy eyes.
Regular, restful sleep can protect the body against a myriad of health problems too, including obesity and heart disease. Proper sleep also boosts the immune system, so you’re less likely to pick up common colds and viruses.
A good night’s sleep will also improves your concentration, and is crucial for your mental wellbeing. A consistent lack of sleep can greatly affect your mood, making you irritable and less likely to be able to cope with stress – it basically diminishes your natural resilience making you more likely to crash with life’s problems.
However, as many who have suffered with sleepless nights can attest, a pattern of not sleeping becomes a vicious cycle that’s hard to break – I know that I personally used to struggle every night.
So What May Be?
For so many women, getting a night of restful and uninterrupted sleep would be an absolute miracle. Maybe you’ve got young children who wake in the night, a partner who snores, or pets that disturb you.
For some it’s insomnia or perhaps anxiety that keeps them awake, night-after-night, staring at the ceiling.
Whatever it is, you might be up and down like a yo-yo, but that’s normal, right?
Let’s Talk About The Bad Things…
I used to wear my lack of sleep as some random badge of honour (seriously). “I just don’t sleep” I would brag, as if there was going to be some sort of Blue Peter badge given to me or a framed certificate for the club. I didn’t sleep because I couldn’t sleep and then, for some reason, I thought it was cool that I got by on so little. Little did I attribute my ballooning weight, constant sickness, brain fog, etc. on sleep deprivation. It also plays havoc with your mood, mindset, and even hormone balance.
Let’s Talk About The Good Things…
Sleep is so important that I consider it one of the four pillars of Feeding Your Fairy (Click HERE for information about Feed Your Fairy).
I cannot tell you now how much I love sleep. I monitor it. I adore it. I deliberately induce it and savour it. In short, I do absolutely everything humanly possible to get more (and better sleep).
But do you know what sweetheart? The truth is, there isn’t one simple solution; you have to find out what works for you. However, establishing a proper sleep routine is definitely a step in the right direction.
Find out how to wind down before bed with my guide; calm your mind, leave your worries behind and take the time to focus on you.
My Favourite Sleep Routine
There are so many different ideas out there for how you can get a better night’s sleep. For me, there are some fundamentals of “sleep hygiene” so clean up your sleeping act with your favourites from below.
Take a Soothing Soak
Research has found that having a soak in a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime could help you fall asleep more quickly. There are few things more relaxing than a hot, candle-lit bath, especially when you indulge and use your favourite bathing products. My favourite combination is Epsom salts and essential oils.
Debbie Sunderland, one of Guest Coaches for the Feed Your Fairy Membership recommends using “Lavender (as it’s high in linalool), cedarwood as tree oils are grounding and calming, and frankincense as it calms nervous tension. Lavender and frankincense would be beautiful in the bath mixed with a carrier oil and Epsom salt.”
Another tip from Debbie is to use all three of those oils in a diffuser in the bedroom as they are truly an amazing combination.
Journaling reduces bedtime worry and stress, increases sleep time, and improves sleep quality. To try it, set aside 15 minutes each night for writing about a recent positive experience. Write about not only what happened, but also how you felt at the time.
Or alternatively you can try gratitude journaling (my fave). Practicing gratitude makes you more aware of the good things in your life. This upbeat, positive outlook helps to keep anxiety and worries to a minimum and promotes a more optimistic view on life. A number of previous studies have linked gratitude to greater happiness, satisfaction with life, and hope about the future.
Fewer studies looked for a connection between gratitude and sleep. However, a couple that did also found a benefit.
Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough asked people with neuromuscular disorders to make nightly lists of things for which they were grateful. After three weeks, participants reported getting longer, more refreshing sleep.
Following on from this, researchers at the University of Manchester looked at how gratitude might affect people’s sleep. They found that pre-sleep gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. This, in turn, was associated with a better quality of sleep, dozing off faster and staying asleep for longer.
Switch It Off
Switching off your phone and television a couple of hours before you sleep seems simple enough, but the effects of doing so shouldn’t be underestimated.
Exposure to blue light – which is largely transmitted from laptops and phones – affects your circadian rhythm and reduces melatonin production, which helps you to relax into a deep sleep. Blue light is thought to cause skin damage and aging too, through inflammation and weakening of the skin’s surface. Many of us spend the majority of our day on our phones or laptops, so why not use those precious couple of hours before bed to completely switch off and unwind, and read a book instead?
We have a beautiful book club that recommend amazing reads every single month. Pop me a message for more info.
Cut It Out
Too much caffeine could be to blame for your sleepless nights. Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause alertness, whilst over-consumption can lead to insomnia.
It’s recommended that you avoid caffeine for four to six hours before bedtime; opt for a herbal tea instead. Camomile tea is renowned for its calming properties, making it a great natural remedy to tackle insomnia and sleepless nights. Valerian Root and Lavender are also great alternatives to a caffeinated drink before bed. Both herbs help to reduce anxiety and stress – two of the main causes of poor quality sleep. Swap out caffeinated beverages for natural teas and observe the effect it has on your sleep routine; it may be one of the simplest things you can do to help you sleep.
One of the most important things to remember is that sleep shouldn’t be a battle. If you feel like you are constantly fighting with your sleep you need to take consistent steps to improving your sleep routine. But remember, whilst sleep hygiene is under your control, the ultimate amount of sleep and the quality isn’t; but work step-by-step every day and things will surely improve.
If you would like to read more posts, try this one which is all about my top tips to-destress and unwind. Read it HERE