It’s so frustrating. I call it “painsomnia” where my chronic pain and fatigue symptoms collide causing me to be wide awake. Not only do I crave the sleep itself but I crave the feeling of deep, restful sleep that allows my body to recharge. And most nights I would toss and turn, my anxiety causing me to think about the next day or what had happened that day.
Lack of sleep made me cross and cranky. I snapped and moaned at friends and family. It was seriously out of control.
But, over the years I have found techniques that actually work for having the best nights sleep EVER! Not only that but these techniques will help you to stay asleep!
Do you want to improve your sleep in a matter of days!! Well, keep reading friends because I have the quintessential guide to the perfect night’s sleep!
Several supplements are proven to help with sleep.
- Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body. It helps control your sleep patterns. You can take a manmade version of melatonin for short-term sleep problems. It makes you fall asleep quicker and less likely to wake up during the night.
- Magnesium. I am a huge fan of the BetterYou range of magnesium products. The oils and lotions are phenomenal at helping with restless leg symptoms on the spot. You can also take a magnesium supplement which helps to reduce restless leg symptoms in general as well as help you to sleep.
- Lavender – I think Lavender is a marmite supplement as I don’t personally find it helps me with sleep. However, many sleepy time products contain lavender and many people do find it relaxing thus promoting restful sleep. I love the ThisWorks pillow spray. A lavender essential oil can be blended and diffused to help with sleep as well. Mix 3 drops of lavender essential oil with 3 drops of bergamot essential oil and diffuse for a lovely bedtime aroma.
Cut down on Caffeine/Alcohol
It goes without saying but every guide to having the best nights sleep ever will include this one. If you want to sleep deeply then you need to reduce your caffeine intake.
Caffeine is a stimulant and I like to only drink my caffeine in the morning or up until lunchtime. Then I switch over to herbal teas. If you aren’t a fan of herbal teas then please keep trying until you find one you like as there are so many out there! Be aware that caffeine can be found in energy drinks as well so you may want to switch to water or juice.
Alcohol can also impair sleep. You may think that it makes you sleepy and tired but actually, it has the opposite effect and you will wake up feeling unrested and lethargic. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the body to lose extra fluid through sweat too, making you dehydrated. Not to mention all the extra trips you need to make to the bathroom!
I’m sure you’ve heard of a weighted blanket and how they can help with sleep and anxiety. When I first ordered mine I was shocked at how heavy it was. I thought that it was going to be too heavy for me and probably cause me more discomfort! However, I was wrong! I am obsessed with my weighted blanket. It is so soothing and the weight provides me with the pressure my body needs to feel protected and safe. Yes, I promise it sounds bizarre but it works!
I love spending time cuddled up with a good book or watching a movie with my blanket on the couch as well as using it at night so it’s definitely worth its weight in gold!
Sounds silly but having a routine and heading to bed at the same time every night is a great way to train your body to sleep well. By doing this you tell your circadian rhythm when it is time to wake and sleep.
It will take time to get into a routine but it is well worth it in the long run!
If you suffer from chronic fatigue or in general feel that afternoon slump coming on don’t be afraid to have a short nap. Naps can help to recharge you however if you nap for too long then your nighttime sleep will be interrupted. When I worked full time I had a 45-minute nap every afternoon when I came home. This was perfect as it allowed me to do things in the evening and still have a great nights sleep. This guide to the perfect night’s sleep is not about depriving you of a nap if you need one.
You may find that taking a nap works better on the couch/sofa instead of the bed. This way your body will only associate bed with sleeping deeply.
This is the hardest one for me. I literally have my phone beside me ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT!! I was checking it every few minutes. Or looking up things and falling down a google rabbit hole. Not to mention the hours I was spending scrolling through Instagram or Facebook! I was losing hours of my life.
And then there is the TV. I literally have my TV on 24/7. I love watching TV in bed. But did you know that the blue light from the screen can inhibit melatonin production making it hard for you to fall asleep? Well, most phones now come with a night time mode which is great so make sure if you are scrolling your phone at night that you utilise this.
And try to turn off the TV before you go to sleep.
Where you sleep is so important. You want to create a peaceful and relaxing environment that will allow you to drift off.
You could have low lighting, blackout blinds, a fan etc as well as soft sheets or the perfect mattress.
I love this galaxy light in my room for a peaceful environment. It doubles as a Bluetooth speaker which means I can play white noise through it too. I also have a fan which I use to cool the room down as I need to.
An eye mask is great for helping me block light when I feel overstimulated. My autistic son swears by an eye mask at night and it has vastly improved his sleep.
I also have super soft sheets and an amazing quilt from Duvet Hog.
I take a glass of water to bed each night so I don’t have to go downstairs and I have everything I need to hand on my bedside table. Things like tablets, eye drops, moisturiser and lip balm which I can end up reapplying at night just before I fall asleep.
Finally in my guide to having the best nights sleep EVER!
There are many ways to wind down before bed. Taking a bath or shower, reading a book, write in your journal, meditating or stretching can all be a great way to wind down. This is all about letting the stress from the day go and find a way to switch your brain off.
This form of mindfulness can really help you to relax and guide your body into a restful sleep. It will help to improve your mental wellbeing which can also feel drained due to lack of sleep.
Wearing comfortable clothing to bed helps with sleep. Nothing too tight or restrictive as this will prevent you from getting into that sleepy sweet spot.
You should also refrain from eating heavy or stodgy foods before bed.
What would you add to this list?
You can check out my post on the curvy kate in my dreams sleep bra here.