Do you ever have those nights where you’re tossing and turning for what feels like hours and hours? You can be genuinely exhausted yet be doing everything right: putting your phone away, not eating too late, preparing what you need for the next morning yadda yadda but alas, alack, to no avail and still be counting sheep into the wee hours of the morning.
Since starting a new job, I have found that the stress of not working and being so tired from a full day’s work has helped to alleviate some insomnia yet I still do frequently experience nights where I just can’t seem to drop off.
One of the biggest problems I have is switching off as I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. As I said, having a busy day helps, and when I get to sleep I sleep like a log but it’s drifting off in the first place I can find difficult at times. So I have a few tips and tricks in my arsenal that I have found really effective over the years, so keep reading for some every day tips and some of my own home sleep remedies!
1.This is probably quite a common one but I’m pretty sure that’s because it’s so effective: Keep a pen and paper by your bed; write down anything on your mind before going to sleep or if you wake up in the night with a “Oh-God-I’ve-just-remembered-I-need-to-do-that-tomorrow” moment, then you’re all set. I struggle to clear my mind so offloading any worries or having a good rant in your diary is such a mentally cleansing activity before going to sleep and does really help.
2. I find scents to be incredibly calming. In a previous blog post I wrote how a fragrance can change my whole mood so using some scent boosters like a pillow spray can really bring about a sense of peace and calm. Sometimes I use a soothing body lotion as well – something like the Cowshed Knackered Cow Relaxing Body Lotion with lavender and eucalyptus body lotion works well, and I just rub a little into my chest. If you really want to go all out, you could always light a scented candle an hour before going to bed. I’ve got about a million yankee candles that I want to mention in a separate blog post but my sister in-law recently bought me the white tea and peony scented candle from Primark and the smell is surprisingly divine. It’s a really nice mixture of fresh/sweet but not too sweet and really lovely right before bed.
3. OK so this is something I have developed myself over the years and it’s probably one of the best tools I have found for clearing my mind. Essentially it’s committing a film to memory, enough that you can remember it without watching it. I found the best way to do this was by watching the same film every night for a week (or as long as necessary) and then would aim to go straight to bed. Then the next week I did the same thing but kept the volume on low as I was drifting off, but being familiar with it, I was able to picture the film in my mind just by listening to it. Now I’ve reached the point where if I’m struggling to sleep, I literally focus on the film and “play” it in my mind from the beginning without the need of having the TV on. Even having it on low on in the background – I’ve learnt to associate that particular film in the evening with going to sleep. I can’t begin to explain how useful I find this to be, and if I’m having a bad week, I just go over the film in my head.
Doing the prep work for this can be a little monotonous so it’s best to pick a film that’s lighthearted and easy to remember. So perhaps Gone Girl isn’t the best way forward, but then if a 3 hour thriller is what does it then hey, ho!
4. Tidy environment and tidy mind. I personally feel a lot more tranquil when everything around me is clean and organised, so if I feel like I’m having trouble sleeping then I’ll make an effort to tidy my room and put fresh, clean sheets on the bed and make sure everything is in it’s place. It’s just something I find very soothing before going to bed.
5. I know it’s not recommended to go on your phone right before going to bed – I’m sure we’ve all read the sciencey articles that tell how how the light from your phone can mimic sun rays and can disrupt the production of a chemical called melatonin which our bodies need to fall asleep – however – that’s not to say we can’t have a good listen instead. There are apps out there designed to help us sleep; I gave this a go once and I stumbled upon an app that had this guy with the most monotonous voice droning on about a melting ice cream. Sounds funny but I don’t remember the end so I guess it worked! Unfortunately, I can’t find this app but it might be worth doing some research and seeing what’s out there.
6. Another app I like to download – and this is one of my favourite ways to fall asleep – apps that play the sound of rain. I can think of nothing more comforting than being snuggled up in bed listening to the sound of rain splattering on the window. I don’t like any with music – just a good quality recording of nothing but rain.
7. I’m not 100% sure whether this is true or not, but I have read so many things over the years suggesting that it’s better for your body to sleep in a cooler environment, around 15-20 degrees, rather than a warmer environment as our body temperatures cool and naturally let off heat, hence a cooler environment encourages your body’s natural sleep temperature faster, thus making it easier to fall asleep. Regardless of whether this is true, this really works for me. I get hot and bothered quite easily and even a fan doesn’t really suffice so I’ve found it’s best to have open one of those little top windows rather than a big window for a consistent temp, and then if it gets a little chilly to just wrap myself up in the covers or throw a jumper over me or an extra quilt. I would rather warm myself up rather that put the heating on or something if that makes sense. I don’t know how that works but it just does, it’s as refreshing to me as the cold side of a pillow. So if you’re struggling to get some shut-eye, try lowering the thermostat a little and see if it makes a difference.
8. Lastly – finish the evening on a positive note. No matter what has happened during the day, I will try and make a conscious effort to end the day on a high. A therapist said this to me once – if you’ve had a stressful day, do something for you. Something that will bring a smile to your face at the end of the day – regardless of what that entails. That can range from making up after an argument (never go to bed angry!) to having a bath, meditating, reading a book, or – one of my favourites is having a quick scroll through one of my Pinterest boards. I don’t do this right before going to sleep – but, towards the end of the evening, I like to browse through a board I created called “Cleanse” – to which I have just pinned imagery of anything minimal, white and clean. It’s extremely therapeutic looking at something refreshing and brings calmness and some serenity to the end of my day.
I hope this might be able to give someone a few useful tips. I’m always on the look out for anything that can help me catch some z’s so if anyone has any suggestions then please mention in the comment box or drop me an email.
Thank you for reading 🙂