Written by Tracey Nash
Image by @kianadewil
A restful night’s sleep is a necessity for our body to function well and rejuvenate. Sleep comes to us easily when our mind and body are relaxed. I’m a firm believer in appeasing the senses to achieve a good night’s rest, so if you have a rough time getting to sleep then you have nothing to lose by trying these six tips for better sleep…
There’s nothing more exhausting than the thought of coming in from a night out or a long day at work, and having to do a 10 step skincare routine, bathe and clean the bathroom before getting into bed! And if you’re a makeup-wearer like me then you’ve probably fallen asleep in your makeup more times than you’d like to admit. Easy hack: bathe and do your evening skincare routine soon after getting home. Whether you get in at 6pm or 1am, start the bedtime routine early to help you get into relaxation mode. It will be one less thing to do before you shut your eyes.
The best sleep environment for a good night’s rest should include little to no digital screens. The blue light in screens deters the body from sleeping and hinders melatonin, the hormone which causes you to become sleepy. In the book How to Break up with your Phone, author Catherine Price writes – ‘When we use our phones or tablets or computers before bed, their blue light tells our brains that it is daytime and that we should be awake… Screen time, particularly an hour before bedtime, both keeps us up later and harms the quality of our sleep.’ If you absolutely can’t be without a phone or tablet before bed then consider purchasing a red light screen for your device. The second vital element of sight is bedroom lighting. The darker the room, the better. Blackout blinds or curtains, and dim lighting are your friends.
If like me you’ve spent years purchasing the most cost effective bedding, with little regard for the difference between polyester, cotton, sateen or bamboo sheets then you might not have considered the benefits of quality material bedding to aid your sleep. When it comes to bedding you should opt for a spread that‘s not only aesthetically pleasing, but also comfortable, breathable and includes hypoallergenic materials. I used to think that factors such as thread count were just a marketing ploy, but it does have some bearing on the quality and comfort levels of your sleep. The thread count is a measurement for how the fabric is woven together; good quality thread counts can range from 200 to 800. Being as curious as I am, I ditched the low thread counts for bedding with a minimum of 200 thread count. I admit, not only does the bedding feel softer but I realised that my skin was drying out less and the bedding actually helped to retain moisture in my skin, particularly when using sateen pillowcases. My recommended stores for bedding are Zara Home, Dunelm and M&S.
One of my fool-proof tips for sleeping well is to fill my room with relaxing scents. Candles have become a thing of the past for me, my preference being reed diffusers. (Tip: remember to rotate the reed sticks at least once a week to keep the scent flowing in your space). Coincidentally my favourite scents are all good for aiding sleep – rose, vanilla, patchouli and lavender. My current favourite reed diffusers are Sublime Patchouli from H&M Home and Dark Rose from Ambiance by Talata. Another useful tip is to add scented oils to a room diffuser, try warm vanilla scents or lavender. The third scented tip is for allergen and hay fever sufferers – invest in an air purifier to reduce the pollution and pollens that hinder restful sleep. Lastly, spritz your fresh bedding with your favourite perfume or cologne. When I want to feel luxurious I use Resala by Arabian Oud or Libre Intense from Yves Saint Laurent.
Fill your space with sounds that help your mind switch off. I save audiobooks and podcasts for the hours that I’m actively moving and working, and prefer to listen to instrumental music while I get into a bedtime routine. I’m currently obsessed with the Winter Etudes by Karim Kamar.
You can also improve your quality of sleep by having a specific wind down routine. Utilise the alarm settings on your phone to setup a sleep schedule, with reminders to get ready for bed. Give yourself 45 minutes – 1 hour to prepare yourself for bed. I utilise that time to have a hot drink; plan my outfit for the following day; start a to-do list of priority tasks, and double check that my alarm is set for the morning. I made a rule to stay off my phone in the wind down part of my day and attempt to read a book instead. Some days I’m successful but mostly I’m still trying.