I’ve sadly experienced a fair bit of personal trauma over the past year as a close relative has been unwell..This inevitably led to disrupted sleep, bouts of insomnia, nightmares and general anxiety.
Thankfully, my relative is now fully on the mend, and we all feel happier for it.
The ease in tension has helped my sleep (or lack of it) but the nightmares persisted until just a few weeks ago. Whenever I’m stressed in my life, my anxiety manifests in night terrors.
Whilst my GP had previously recommended a digital switch off after 9pm, I failed to stick at it, preferring to work at night, burning the midnight oil. It wasn’t until I met author Mark Ellis when we both appeared on BBC1’s Sunday Morning Live together and he spoke of the benefits he and his family found when they quit tech for one day a week. His book on the experience over three years, Digitox is an inspiring read.
Along with switching off earlier at night, I committed to a bedtime ritual, opting to rise early over working late and I feel like a brand new person, for it.
Two weeks in, the nightmares have stopped and I fall asleep the instant I place my head on the pillow which was previously unheard of. Yay!
As always I love sharing anything that helps my life so you can benefit too. Below are my 6 tips to a better night’s sleep.
- Turning off tech. We require melatonin to sleep but the blue light emitted from tech including the tv, can halt its production so you need to log off in order to doze off. I’ll be honest, I’ve found it hard to not watch Love Island along with the rest of my Twitter timeline but I now catch up with the show, the next day, and I feel better for it. I start winding down from 9pm, preparing my body for sleep.
- Porridge. I tend to eat early with the kids so by 8.30 I’m hungry again. Porridge is my go-to snack as it’s slow releasing and I tend to add some Greek yoghurt for added protein. This keeps me full and happy. I was told by a dietitian that oats are rich in B6 and in his words, ‘are nature’s valium’.
- Bath time. I treat my own bedtime routine like that of my kids’. I have a long soak, usually with a book in hand and nothing feels more relaxing. Once out and in loose pjs/nightie (I always go for breathable cotton) I then practise ten minutes of meditation or yoga.
- Chamomile tea. I love the soothing properties of chamomile and I’ve been drinking this tea since I was little. Rooibos is another non-caffeinated alternative with a trillion (!) health benefits. Drinking this by my bed helps me relax.
- Take a multivitamin. I’ve started taking Premtesse for Women as recommended by PMT expert Maryon Stewart. This high strength multivamin with minerals has B6, magnesium, zinc and many other vits which aid women’s wellbeing and encourage a good night’s sleep.
- Write it down. Pre-slumber, I jot down niggling worries into a notebook by my bed so I can address them the following day and stop worrying about them. Letting go of concerns means I can stop worrying and start sleeping.
Et voila. My sleep routine. Please do try these things if you’re struggling to sleep, and vitally, stick to the routine.
It’s not easy, you’ll miss tech after 9 or 10pm but I promise that going cold-turkey and committing to these rituals will transform your sleep like it has mine.
Keep me posted!