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Dreary, weary and utterly exhausted. We all know the feeling well and man, does being tired suck or what? Urgh.
Aside from the overly energetic baby/toddler in the next room, there may well be some other reasons why you’re not sleeping or why your quality of sleep leaves something to be desired.
From late-night stimulants to an uncomfortable bed, today I’m taking a look at why many of us are struggling to stifle the yawns (which, by the way, are apparently contagious!) and are turning to coffee/energy drinks to coast through the day…
(1) WE ARE FLICKING THROUGH FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM/TWITTER AT SOME UNGODLY HOUR!
– You don’t need to know how drunk your cousin’s best friend is right now or how perfectly so-and-so has done her brows. It can wait until tomorrow surely? Mike and I are awful for this, often scanning through our newsfeeds in bed, no wonder we both toss and turn for half an hour! It’s just another stimulant to contend with. The blue lights emitted by electronics together with the bright screens are both particularly disruptive when trying to get ready for sleep.
I remember I used to fall asleep when I was younger clutching a good old-fashioned book. I NEED to start reading again (or stick with doing something a little more fun before bed eh? See 7 below!)
(2) WE NEED NEW SHEETS FOR OUR BED!
– Is your linen old and bobbled? Is it not as soft as it once was? If you’re nodding your head, it may be that you need to invest in some new sheets/duvet covers. Switching to some more comfortable linen can do wonders for your sleep and there’s certainly no harm in indulging in some new bed covers to refresh your bedroom either. If the room is more appealing, sleep will be more forthcoming…
Do you get too warm in bed? Try picking cotton or linen over polyester as these fabrics are much more breathable. What’s the thread count? A higher thread count typically allows for softer sheets.
As we’ve just moved, I’ve been checking out what’s on offer to add a new spin to our bedroom. Yorkshire Linen* have a fabulous range at the moment with great value prices and only £3.95 for standard UK delivery. I’ve got my eye on the Palonia collection, patchwork always feels so homely 🙂 I’m also lusting after this gorgeous ‘Winter Floral’ bedding set from M and S, it’s beautiful.
(3) WE DIDN’T WIND DOWN!
You need to prepare your body and your mind for sleep if you’re really going to make the most of it. Have some time to relax, stop doing the housework, stop sending emails and just ahhhhh.
(4) WE DIDN’T TAKE OUR MAKE-UP OFF!
– I am SO guilty of this! As part of my efforts to wind down, I know that I should really remove all of my make-up and follow a good skincare routine i.e. night cream, lypsyl etc. Especially in these winter months when the cold really wrecks havoc with us ladies! Just like having clean sheets – a fresh, cleansed face is best for bed. Going to bed feeling icky isn’t going to help matters at all.
Read 5 reasons why you should ALWAYS remove your make-up HERE (and why I will be sticking to this religiously from now on!)
If you’re looking for a fabulous product to use I’d highly recommend Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water. Just grab some cotton wool pads and all of your make-up should come off super easily. You can thank me later! 😉
(5) OUR MINDS ARE IN OVERDRIVE TRYING TO ORGANISE TOMORROW’S WORKLOAD!
– It’s great to have plans and be on top of everything but at some stage we must switch off and allow ourselves to just rest and relax. Why not write your to-do list before bed rather than mentally trying to gather your thoughts later on? If you’ve got worries troubling you, talk it out with your partner/family/friends earlier on in the evening to try and free yourself of any problems that may take over your mind at bedtime. You’ve got to slow down and give yourself a break!
Obviously, I would seize this as an opportunity to buy more stationery like these gorgeous list pads/sheets from Paperchase. Too. Much. Choice – right?!
(6) WE HAVE THE WRONG MATTRESS!
– It’s all about personal preference when it comes to mattresses. What works for one person can be hell for another causing aches/pains, restlessness and a reduced quality of sleep.
Our mattress often drives me up the wall. Mike seems to get on with it well but sometimes it can leave me feeling as though I’ve slept on a plank of wood. We only bought it recently and it was quite expensive so I think I’ll just have to learn to love it? Arghhh.
(7) WE’RE NOT HAVING ENOUGH SEX!
– Sex makes everybody sleepy. FACT.
How I hear you exclaim? Well, the hormones released during LM leave your body in a relaxed state making it easier for you to fall asleep. Also, your oestrogen levels increase which can enhance your REM cycle for a deeper, more peaceful slumber. Result! 🙂
(8) WE’RE NOT ACTIVE ENOUGH DURING THE DAY!
– You know how you let your little one run around and bounce up and down all day to ‘tire them out’? Well, the same goes for us big’uns as well. Many studies have shown that people who exercise regularly spend more time in the deep, restorative stages of sleep and are more energised throughout the day. We all know the health benefits of exercise, getting round to actually ‘doing’ it is the hard thing! Remember, every little helps – even a longer walk to the park/playgroup can improve sleep quality.
I’m currently dying to get my hands on a FitBit Charge Wristband, have you seen them advertised? They track your activity levels and monitor your sleep patterns so you can review them later. There’s even a silent, vibrating alarm which allows you to wake up ‘more peacefully’. Yes please Santa 😉
(9) WE DON’T HAVE A ROUTINE!
– Again, I’m going back to what we do with our kids. If we try and wake up and go to sleep at around about the same time every day then our bodies WILL get used to it and we should naturally start to rub our eyes and feel sleepy when bedtime approaches. When you wake up in the morning get those curtains open and bathe yourself in natural sunlight (or wait for the sun to rise, it is winter I guess…) and when you’re relaxing before bed, keep it darker with just some mood lighting to wind down.
It’s all about the melatonin. Darkness = more melatonin = our brain gets sleepy. Natural light = less melatonin = our brain feels more awake and alert.
(10) WE’RE DRINKING TOO MUCH COFFEE
– It’s not actually doing us much good at all. Did you know that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours? It’s definitely something to think about when you’re knocking back a Venti at 4pm! :/ I’m going to start switching to herbal tea for my afternoon mother’s meetings I think.
Have you tried any of these tips before to help with a better nights sleep? Have you got any of your own to add to the list?
Please do let me know, I’d love to hear from you!