Like a naughty child, I dread sliding between my sheets on a Sunday night. In part, this is simply because I revert to bed-evading when it comes to 11pm (those old habits, they die hard), but it is specifically so on a Sunday because I know I’ll have a poor night’s sleep after a weekend of muddled bedtimes.
I’m lucky, though – during the week I drift off with ease and generally enjoy untroubled sleep regardless of my stress levels or slight reluctance to get into bed in the first place. I am all too aware that this is not the case for others and, based on my single night’s below par sleep each week, can only imagine the agony that nightly insomnia and interrupted slumber wreak.
In fact, I needn’t imagine – my sister struggles enormously to feel satisfied by the quality of her sleep and when we travel together she is always more tired during the day and frequently asks how I switch off. My answer is always the same: I read each and every night before bed (apparently such a routine signals sleep to the body), and I also usually use aromatherapy or some sort of other prompt. That, and I avoid caffeine in the evening, which may well be the real key to sleep success – when I recently interviewed sleep expert Dr. Guy Meadows, he told me that in all his years of research he’d never seen anyone drink a coffee and then reach deep sleep.
If like my sister you struggle to sleep well, try following these tips by founder and director of Good Vibes Nahid de Belgeonne’s on getting quality sleep //
- Switch off devices devices at least 2 – 3 hours before bedtime. Device screens increases our exposure to blue wavelengths. Blue wavelengths boost attention and reaction times which is disruptive at night.
- Write down your to do list for tomorrow and put it in your bag to signal the end of your working day.
- Set the lights low 30 mins before bedtime – this includes the lighting in your bathroom – the last thing most people do is brush their teeth in a brightly lit bathroom.
- Have a warm bath – the temperature drop after a bath can help to get you into a deeper sleep.
- Have a sleep routine; getting into pyjamas, spraying pillows with lavender spray all form better long term sleep habits. Scientific evidence suggests that lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system and promote relaxation.
- Set a regular pattern by going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time in the morning.
- Use an eye pillow across your eyes – a light pressure on the eye lids activates the oculocardiac reflex, which in turn lowers the pulse rate.
… And get your hands on one of these //
HOLISTIC SILK EYE MASK / Truly the best eye masks on the market – they are light-ommitting while remaining comfortable and look more Holly Golightly than Mask of Zorro when on.
THIS WORKS DEEP SLEEP PILLOW SPRAY / Lavender, patchouli and vetiver make this my favourite pillow mist. I spritz a little on my pillow case every night (hubs gets some if he’s been really nice that day).
AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES DEEP RELAX BATH & SHOWER OIL / The best relaxing bath oil I’ve tried, I sometimes decant a tiny bit to take on planes with me if I think I’ll feel stressed in transit.
TISSERAND SWEET DREAMS BODY OIL / Try Tisserand if you’re on a budget but want luxe aromatherapy. This oil is extremely nourishing and a mere whiff makes me feel a little drowsy.