Last year, post Big Small Business/Let’s Discuss launch/crazy busy life period, a prolonged period of sleep deprivation majorly caught up with me. I suffered an anxiety attack, had horrible skin breakouts, hormonal ups and downs and felt exhausted.
It was only when I started to focus on getting enough, and getting good quality, sleep that I really began to get my energy back.
And since then, I am a sleep convert!
I now LOVE getting a full, good, night’s sleep, and I’ve never felt more well for it.
Of course there are still nights when I toss and turn, or days when I don’t get my full sleep allocation in, but by and large I am pretty strict with my routine and environment.
If you are suffering with a poor night’s sleep, or are depriving yourself of precious rest hours, I hope today’s post can help you to get a better quality and quantity of sleep.
Because when you do, it’s life changing.
How To Get A Better Night’s Sleep
Before we delve into the how, let’s look at the why.
Why do you need a good night’s sleep? And does it really make that much of a difference to your overall health?
“Sleep is proven to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, improve memory, increase cognitive function, reduce stress and keep you slim.”
Having experienced both sides of the ‘sleeping coin’, I could not agree more.
In my seasons of sleeping little (and poorly), I was SO forgetful, felt like I lost track of my thoughts all the time, was clumsy, anxious and generally felt like half a human. Even if on the surface I was completing tasks, internally I was never fully present.
Since prioritising my sleep, I am so much more ‘awake’ (no pun intended) to my day to day life. I feel more responsive to conversations, have clearer thought patterns, have SO much more energy, and feel generally more well in my body.
Now that we’ve addressed the why, let’s look at the how.
Much of this comes down to Sleep Hygiene.
If like me, you initially think this means cleaning your sheets, it does(!) but it’s so much more too.
Sleep Hygiene is all about the environment you put your head down in, and the way you structure your routine around your bedtime.
Having a good routine, and an environment which is conducive to getting a sound night’s sleep is critical for maintaining a regular healthy sleeping pattern.
I recently attended a Sleep Workshop by my good friend Rosie of Rosie Being Well, and it was so comforting – and interesting – to learn about the small habits we can incorporate to ensure a sound dose of Zs.
Here are a few ways you can improve your sleeping environment and bedtime routine:
Improve Your Sleeping Environment And Bedtime Routine
Try and make your bedroom as calming as possible. As Rosie shared during her workshop, some people are sensitive to light, others to sounds. Next time you go to bed, try to notice what most affects you.
For me, having clutter in my eye-line immediately makes me stressed. (Although this feels almost comical as I write as Oli and I are still surrounded by boxes – and sleeping on the sofa bed – as we navigate our house move!)
Over the course of a few weeks, try and improve your sleeping environment. This may include a declutter, a deep clean, investing in good quality sheets (I love Elizabeth Scarlett and The White Company), and even adding a plant to your bedroom.
As Patch Plants shares “Plants help oxygenate the room and filter the air of toxins”.
If you are sensitive to light, try getting black-out curtains or blinds. Put tape over any annoying electrical lights (or better – turn them off!), and avoid a TV in your bedroom if you can.
As I shared, Oli and I are currently camping out on our sofa bed, with boxes everywhere.
I can’t wait to get back into a good bedtime routine, because once you’re into one, you’ll LOVE it.
First, decide how much sleep you want to get. This will help you to determine when you need to go to bed. I’ve spoken before about the benefits of setting your alarm to coincide with a 90 minute cycle.
If you have to wake up at 6am for work every morning, and you want to get 7.5 hours sleep, you need to be asleep at 10.30pm. Meaning your bedtime routine may have to begin at 9.30.
I like to use the bedtime function on my iPhone which allows me to plug all this info in. Once you’ve set your desired bedtime, you’ll get a notification saying it’s “time to get ready for bed”.
Once you’ve set your time, it’s then ALL about the routine.
Essentially, you want to be completely ready for sleep when you close your eyes. You need to get relaxed, cosy and ready to nod off.
Here are a few of the things which help me to unwind:
Take a shower or bath. A good pamper is such a treat, and literally ‘cleansing’ yourself of your day’s past can feel cathartic. I’ve been using the Bloomtown Botanicals Himalayan Salts from Anthropologie, and the REN Atlantic Kelp And Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Bath Oil in the tub – so far, my favourite combination EVER.
Rather than look at my phone, I’ve taken to turning off the lights in the bathroom and lighting a scented candle. By the time I get out of that bath I am half way to being asleep!
In the bedroom too I like to only have one sidelight on.
Ideally the room you sleep in should be on the colder side, and the sheets you sleep under super cosy.
I LOVE pyjamas – just call me grandma – and some of my favourites are by Chalmers – on the pricey end – and Primark on the budget side. I always go for cotton PJs, and The White Company cashmere bed socks.
If I haven’t written my to-do list for the next day already, I’ll write this down in my notebook so it’s out of my head and down on paper.
And finally, I have a little three-step routine to truly get me off to sleep:
- Supplements – I’ll do a separate post on what I’m currently taking, but particularly for sleep I take a Magnesium supplement.
- Sleep spray – I love NEOM Organic’s Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist.
- A paperback book or magazine – last year my friends and I started a book club and it’s been one of my biggest happiness boosters of late! A paperback avoids any blue light from your phone or device (which makes your brain think its daytime), and I know it’s time to go to sleep when I am literally nodding off mid-page.
So there you have it!
My bedtime routine, and how I like to organise my sleeping environment.
We are still working on our own sleep sanctuary in our new home (we are currently mattress-less), and I am so excited to get into our good habits again. Although we’ve been getting enough sleep, it’s not been the same as having an environment which is truly conducive to it.
What’s Your Take?
How do you sleep at the moment? And do you have any tips for getting a better night’s sleep? I’d love to know!
Love, Monica x