Do you ever get jealous of how easily babies and children fall asleep? We’re all born with the ability to sleep and yet it seems to get trickier and trickier as we get older. Huh. Must be all our stressful grown up thoughts I suppose.
Anyway, as someone who takes the need for eight hours sleep very seriously, here are my top five tips to help you drift off… They are entirely based on my own experiences (sometimes after reading about studies etc.) so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments!
Change your bedding
How much more relaxed do you feel when you get into a bed made with fresh, crisp bed linen? According to most surveys, most of us don’t change our bedding often enough anyway (once a week is recommended), so switch up your sheets more often to keep yourself fresher and better rested!
What’s that? You’re too tired right now? Just change your pillowcase to fool your brain with the freshly washed scent.
Scent on your pillow
The above hack is all very well if you have fresh bedding to hand, but if your other set of bed linen is still in the basket, this is a seriously helpful cheat. Aromatherapy scents stimulate relaxation and sleep without any side effects. My favourite is adding a few subtle drops of lavender or rose essential oil on my pillow, but other recommended scents to help you unwind include chamomile or ylang-ylang.
Raise your Temperature
Your body temperature falls slightly just before you go to sleep. You can mimic this by raising your temperature with a warm bath, which will then fall, sending a signal to your body that you are ready to drop off. If you don’t have the time or inclination for a bath, I find a hot drink, warming me up from the inside, can have the same effect.
A Chapter a Night
Reading has been found to lower stress levels even more quickly and effectively than other common stress reducers such as walking or listening to music. Studies have found that reading for as little as six minutes before bed can help you sleep better, although I find a fifteen minute chapter suits me better. It’s a bonus if you get to have exciting book-inspired dreams too!
Use Your Phone
I’m completely serious. Yes, the blue light from phones and computer screens disrupts your sleep. But whilst I am all for stopping emailing/shopping/browsing social media for at least an hour before bed, in the past year I have discovered that I can use my phone for relaxation purposes too. Youtube is packed guided meditations specifically geared towards helping you rest and talking your body down to sleep. Make sure you’re not on autoplay (you don’t want the next video to play when you are deep in sleep) and turn your phone over so you don’t see the light from the screen. Next thing you know…morning!