An insomniacs guide to sleeping well

June 7, 2018

I am one of the world’s worst sleepers. I am up and down like a yo-yo; going to the toilet, tossing and turning and re-arranging bedding. My mind is a constant whirl and when I do finally sleep, I have such vivid dreams I wake up feeling like I’ve acted out the entire Harry Potter series.

My partner on the other hand is one of those annoying types who lays his head on the pillow and does not move an inch till morning. I can have full conversations with him in the middle of the night and the next day he won’t remember a thing.

I’ve therefore spent a lot of time and energy working out how to have the best chance of a good night’s sleep. So here are my top tips for a sumptuous sleep.

1) Separate duvets. Forget trying to share a duvet and waking up feeling like you have whip lash after your partner suddenly tries to steal it in the middle of the night, or one of you being too hot, the other two cold.

Get separate duvets each at the correct tog for you and cocoon yourself to your hearts desire. Buy the best quality you can afford, it makes all the difference – same for pillows.
2) Buy the biggest bed you can fit in your room and possibly even separate mattresses zipped together. It seems ridiculous to me that adults are expected to sleep with less space than a small child gets in a single bed.

3) Invest in a pillow spray. I am obsessed with this one from Rituals – the smell instantly calms me.

4) Silence is golden. If you struggle with noise, try ear plugs but be aware not all ear plugs are created equal. Try a range of different ones to find the one that work for you. If your partner snores look at options to reduce this such as Breathe Easy nose strips.
5) An eye mask works wonders in summer (and I like to think is Audrey Hepburn glamorous but that might be wishful thinking).
6) Exercise regularly. This is wonderful for stress release and will help tire you out. If you are exhausted from not sleeping, do gentle exercise like yoga, a walk or a swim but make sure you are exercising. Don’t do a HIIT session 20 minutes before bed, this will only wake you up.
7) Read a good book (paper or kindle) but don’t watch films or go internet shopping on your ipad before bed – research has shown that using iPad before bed stops your melatonin dropping so you don’t feel as sleepy . In fact keep all technology out of reach, don’t sleep with a phone next to your head, checking the time in the middle of the night won’t help you sleep.
8) Try to de-stress. Whether this is keeping a worry pad by your bed to write down any thoughts in or a warm bath before bed, you want to feel relaxed to have maximum chance of going to sleep. I find my cats purring incredibly calming.

9) Try to get into a routine of when you go to bed – get your body used to going to sleep at the same time every day.
10) Think about the quality of air you are breathing in when asleep. Open the windows sometimes and get a air cleansing plant (I have a peace Lily in my bedroom).

11) Try acupuncture and see if this helps you sleep. I feel like (touch wood) since I’ve been having acupuncture once a month, I go to sleep more easily.

12) Have a calming drink before bed (I love decaf tea), but not so much that you will need to get up and pee in the night – it’s a fine balance and one I often get wrong!

Finally, although I try not take them all the time, when I am in a bad sleep phase I use herbal remedies such as Valerian root extract to help.

What are your tips to getting a good nights sleep? 😴

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