Friday, 9 October 2015

5 Tips For Better Sleep







Happy Friday! For this end of the week, not-so-beauty related post, I thought I'd have a little chat with you about sleep and share my 5 tips for better sleep. Slightly random, I am aware, but it's something that I think is really important. Around a year and a half ago or so, I got a major bout of sleeplessness. It seemed that no matter how early or late I went to bed, I wouldn't get a proper nights sleep. Tossing and turning for hours on end is beyond frustrating and can have a really detrimental effect on your every day life and your performance during the day, not to mention that it can make you unbelievably grumpy - guilty. Once you get one bad nights sleep, it can become a vicious cycle because as I'm sure you all know that stressing about sleep equals even less sleep - you really can't win. Over my few months of extreme sleep deprivation I learned a thing or two that helped me relax more and start to sleep better again. So without further ado, let's get on with the tips!

1. Manage stress - I know that this seems like the most redundant tip ever, because if it was that easy, everyone would be stress-free! Having said that, it is so important to take steps towards managing and therefore reducing stress. I'm someone who gets stressed very easily and stress is sleeps greatest enemy; when you're stressed you can't sleep and when you can't sleep you get more stressed. It can basically turn into a vicious cycle that can be hard to break out of. Everyone manages stress differently and there's no magic tip that will eliminate stress for everyone, but it's a good start to begin with trial and error and see where that takes you. For some people, having a relaxing bath in the evenings really helps them to wind down, for others it's a chat with friends, family or a partner, or maybe reading a book; it's really very individual. My biggest tip in this area would just be to draw a line between work and sleep. By that I mean telling yourself that beyond a certain hour, you won't be looking over work, or replying to tonnes of emails or cramming in some late-night studying. Once you begin separating everyday stress from sleep, you should begin to get a better night's rest. It takes a long time to learn to manage stress - God knows I'm still working on it - but I'd say it's definitely something to invest some time and thought into.

2. Tea - Now, this kind of goes hand in hand with the previous tip, but I love tea so it's getting its own section! There's something rather therapeutic about drinking a hot cup of tea, and it's a great thing to do if you're feeling stressed in the evening. But we warned: I do not mean your standard cuppa, I mean some nice, planty herbal tea. Normal English Breakfast tea can contain quite a bit of caffeine, which I'm sure I don't need to tell you is bad for sleep. If you're struggling with sleep deprivation I would write off caffeine altogether (I know, I know, but I was a self-confessed coffee addict and I've quit that, so if I can do it, so can you!). I've found that any tea that's marketed as sleep tea or nighttime tea or anything like that, tends to be caffeine-free and generally bedtime friendly. Honestly just the smell of herbal tea, the scent alone is enough to mellow me out. One brand I particularly love for my evening tea fix is Yogi Tea. You can get this in most places in Switzerland and from my little gander around the internet, Holland & Barrett carries some of the Yogi teas too - also their packaging is on point.

3. Bed hygiene - Yes, I am aware that this sounds gross, and no, I assure you that I am not about to lecture you about how often you should be changing your sheets - but do that often - seriously. The term bed hygiene refers to keeping your bed "clean" of other activities such as work, TV watching etc. Basically, your bed should be primarily used for sleep. Before I had my bout of sleeplessness, I was guilty of dragging just about every device I owned into my bed; phone, computer, iPad, you name it - it was in there. Something I also got into the habit of doing was spreading my work out on my bed in a last-ditch effort to study for upcoming tests in the morning - a big no no. The roots of this lie within the fact that if you use your bed as an office, your brain will begin to associate the place where you ought to be resting as a place of stress and work. Meaning that when you do eventually go to bed and try to sleep, your brain is still switched on because you're located in the war-zone your bed has become. I know this is a huge pain, and until a few years ago I didn't even have a desk in my room, meaning my bed was pretty much the only place to sit down and get my stuff done. But I ended up gathering my things and sitting at the kitchen table or on the couch in the living room to get stuff done. It's inconvenient and a habit that's tricky to readjust, but when you only really climb into your bed to sleep, I promise you it's 100 times more comfortable!

4. (Screen) lights out - I'm not sure how to abbreviate this one but basically: put your electronics aside around 30 minutes to an hour before you plan on going to bed. This one is absolutely the toughest one, and one rule I'm still guilty of breaking most days. I am also acutely aware of the fact that I am beginning to sound like a very outdated bore, telling you that you can't do the things that you like doing in the evening - that is not the case! My mum is a big fan of presenting me with articles to read about the latest research about this or that, and let me tell you, I have been shown an overwhelming multitude of articles stating that staring at a screen for hours before bed will absolutely lower your sleep quality. Supposedly the light in screens actually lowers the levels of the sleep hormone in your body (melatonin), leading to sleep disruption and insomnia. Something I liked to do instead when I was having trouble sleeping was sitting on my beanbag in my room and read a book that I was enjoying until I felt that I was tired enough to head off to bed - yes, I lead a crazy life. 

5. Relaxing smells - This is one of my favourite things that I've tried to help improve sleep quality. Essential oils like lavender can really have a calming effect and help with relaxation. I've tried a lot of different products that are marketed as calming scents and I'm partial to an oil rollerball but hands down the best product I've tried for this is the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. I saw this crop up in about four hundred different evening routine videos and posts on the Internet and I eventually thought - why not? I kind of assumed it was a bit of a gimmick, because some scent in a spray can surely only do so much. Well, apparently I was wrong. Now, some may argue that this is a bit of a placebo effect, but I would argue back and say that I am such an immense sceptic of everything thrown my way that I am practically immune to said effect - bold statements all around. On a serious note, I'm not sure how or why this works, but I think that it's a lovely step to incorporate into your evening routine and if it does manage to get you snoozing faster and better, it's worth a try! Besides, who doesn't want a nice smelling pillow?

Blimey, that turned out to be a long one! This also took a more serious turn than I had originally intended, with a bit of factual research thrown in there too - tips and a science lesson? Well hasn't this been a treat? Please do remember that all the tips mentioned in this post are things that helped me personally and I am obviously not a doctor, so if sleeplessness does persist, I would strongly recommend seeing a professional. I know it can be an utter pain when you're not sleeping enough but rest assured that things do get better! Have any of you ever struggled with sleep? What are some of your tips for a good night of shut eye? Let me know!



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10 comments

  1. These are fantastic tips! I'm trying to work on turning all screens off well before bed, but this has been the biggest struggle for me.

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

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    1. Thank you! I completely know what you mean, after turning off all the screens before bed I was kind of left wondering what to do with myself, haha. It's definitely something I'm still working on! xo

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  2. Good tips! I've found having a bath can also help me sleep!

    Great post.

    http://lushivity.blogspot.co.uk xxx

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    1. Thank you! I agree, taking a bath in the evening can be super relaxing! xo

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  3. Really needed this post today!!! I have not been able to get to sleep lately and I just lay in bed for hours. I think it's because I've been stressed with school and I've also been on my computer right before bed. These are awesome tips!!

    Foundations of My Life

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    1. Thank you, I'm so glad this was helpful for you! I know how awful it can be when you're not sleeping properly. I hope your stress levels decrease and that you sleep better again soon! xo

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  4. I am blessed with the ability to sleep whenever, wherever, and the only time I struggle to sleep is when I'm ill and running a temperature. I imagine these are really handy tips for people who do struggle, though, I'm awful when I don't get enough sleep - I think insomnia would be the death of me!!

    Jess xo
    http://just-jesss.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Being able to sleep whenever you want is definitely a very lucky thing! Yeah, insomnia is an awful thing. Thank you, I'm glad you liked the tips! xo

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  5. Thank you for all these tips! Definitely something I need to think about some more, my sleeping pattern is chaotic!

    Filippa ⎮http://alwaysadot.blogspot.com

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    1. You're very welcome! I hope your sleeping pattern improves soon! xo

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