Thursday, 18 August 2016

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

Ah, sleep. A precious commodity that is so quickly lost to the stress and strain of the world. 
Many people including myself have suffered from insomnia, in fact, it can be as many as 1 in 3 people that will suffer from insomnia at any point in their lives (citation).  

So with this shocking inevitability, it is always wise to develop coping strategies just in case that evening comes when you literally can't get to sleep. 

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

I've suffered from insomnia on and off for around 6 years of my life. So believe me when I say that it is painfully debilitating and can honestly ruin your life in a matter of days. 

I first experienced insomnia when I was in college. I had been suffering from depression and insomnia crept in like a monster waiting on the sidelines to pounce. Just when I yearned to sleep the most, it was taken away from me and I was left tired and unable to cope with day to day living. Desperate, I went to the doctor who recommended something called "sleep hygiene" - the idea being that you set yourself a strict routine before bedtime and don't allow yourself to do anything in bed except sleep. For me this was terrifying. For weeks I had managed to cope by gradually dozing off to the television and scraping around two- three hours of desperately needed rest. But to be told that I needed to turn the television off as it was detrimental felt like taking away my last lifeline. 

I tried sleep hygiene for around a week. It failed. 

I couldn't cope with not having a distraction and being left in a dark room with my already negative thoughts seemed to make everything worse. I was still only managing around two - three hours sleep due to sheer exhaustion and it felt pointless. 

But then as quickly as it came, it went. I was free. I could sleep. I thought I was magically cured. But that's not how insomnia works, like depression and anxiety, it's not really something that can be "cured" instead it's something that ebbs and flows like the tide. 

So needless to say a few years later it came back whilst I was at Uni. For me it seems to come whenever I'm experiencing a lot of stress, it's like a little extra punch in the gut every time I'm overworked and stressed and desperate for a good nights sleep, it doesn't come. 

So over the year's I've developed some coping strategies that I thought I would share with you, even if you've never personally had issues with insomnia, this post may help give you some handy little relaxation tips along the way for your own night-time routine. 

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

Step 1: Caffeine Free Tea
Something that I do to calm myself down and relax before trying to get to sleep is to drink a soothing tea. My personal favourite is this Calming Tea from M&S which contains chamomile, lime flower & lavender. This is a fairly mild tea and I find it really good at relaxing me for bed. It's naturally caffeine free and doesn't cost a fortune (I highly recommend M&S for their selection of tea!). 

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

Step 2: Candles
Once I get into bed with my tea, I like to light a candle. The one I'm using at the moment is a Strawberry Buttercream Yankee Sampler. I enjoy using the Yankee Candle Samplers as they tend to last a good amount of time and are considerably cheaper than buying one in a jar. My top tip is to head to ASDA for these as often you can find them for £1 or less! 
I find that lighting a candle and filling the room with a nice relaxing scent also puts me in a good mood to sleep, it really helps to have a relaxing environment. 

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

Step 3: Journaling
Bullet Journals have definitely hit the world by storm recently and they are certainly a love/hate phenomena. I personally love mine and I find it really helpful to jot down any thoughts or things that are bothering me before I go to sleep. These are usually in the form of tasks or events that I need to remember or complete. Therefore, by writing them into my journal, I'm able to remove them from my thoughts as I know that they are in the journal for me to tackle the following day. Not only does this help me relax but it actually really helps with my productivity and motivation in my daily life. 

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

Step 4: Reading
So I've got my tea, the candles been lit and is filling my room with its sweet aroma and I've cleared my mind from the daily stresses. The next thing on my list is to sit down and read. Now this is obviously my own personal preference as I'm a bookworm, but even if you are not one for reading fiction I do believe that picking up a coffee table book or even reading some blogs can really help you to switch off from the real world for half an hour or so and just let your daily stresses melt away. 

However, to be totally transparent with you, I've only just been able to get back into this routine as I've been suffering from world's worst book slump and hadn't managed to read properly for a solid 3 months. What I was doing instead was watching an episode of a random show (something I'm not too invested in) on Netflix, I watch through my kindle and have the sound and brightness at the lowest setting possible as to not overly stimulate my brain. This is not ideal but sometimes you need a little distraction to calm yourself down and be at a point where you are ready to sleep. 

That being said, if you are able to, I highly recommend picking up a book and reading a couple of chapters a night, I really find this helps to tire out my mind and my eyes and leaves me feeling really ready to sleep. 

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

Step 5: Tracking.
Once I'm ready to hit the hay, I like to track my sleep. Quite a few months back I was lucky enough to try out the S+ ResMed Sleep Tracker* which is the world's first non-contact sleep tracker - meaning that you don't need to wear a wristband or leave your phone under your pillow! Simply set this up and connect it to the free phone app and you are good to go. The tracker offers insightful details about your sleep, such as the amount of REM sleep you get a night, and how good your sleeping conditions are. This product is a little pricey as it retails at £129.95 at John Lewis but it does offer invaluable information about your sleeping patterns which can be a real help if you are struggling with insomnia or having issues maintaining a good quality of sleep. It also has a feature that will gradually wake you up in your lightest sleep meaning that it reduces the horrible groggy feeling we can get when we're rushed awake by that god awful iPhone alarm! 

However, if you are looking for some information on your sleep but don't have over a £100 to spend then I also recommend the app Sleep Cycle. Although it doesn't offer the same level of in-depth results and is not as advanced or accurate it does still track your sleep with relative accuracy and also has a feature to slowly wake you up when you are in your lightest sleep between two set times. 

I find sleep tracking really helps to regulate my sleep and I've found that I'm able to fall asleep earlier and wake up feeling fresher after using some form of sleep tracking for a sustained amount of time.

If you've not tried this yet then it's definitely something worth considering!  

Tips For A Better Night Sleep

So these are my tips for getting a better night sleep! 

I hope this has helped in some way if you are struggling with night time at the moment. It's a really shitty situation to be in and the only thing you can do is find coping mechanisms that help you deal with it. These are mine and they may not necessarily help, but on the off chance that they do I felt compelled to write this post. 

I hope you all have a wonderful night sleep! 

*This product was sent to me for consideration for review. For more information view my Disclaimer

1 comment

  1. Interesting tips! It looks like you like Alice in the Wonderland. It's my favourite fairytale! Do you want to be friends with me on bloglovin? If yes, just follow my blog there, I'll follow your blog back!!!


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