Let’s get straight to the point – I’ve had problems getting to sleep my entire life. I don’t know where they came from, but for as long as I can remember I’ve always struggled with sleep. Months can go by and I’ll be fine, and for others I won’t sleep at all. Over the last year in particular, I’ve had major problems and it’s taken me quite a while to find what works for me and what helps me to nod off and stay asleep.
Anyone who struggles with sleep will know how incredibly frustrating it is and how much of an effect it can take on you. Some nights I’d lie awake for hours and, being honest, I don’t remember the last time I had an uninterrupted night’s sleep. However, in the past few months I’ve really made some breakthroughs on what helps me sleep and they’ve honestly changed my life.
So for my fellow worriers, anxiety sufferers and insomniacs, here are five little things that have made a big difference in helping me sleep better.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
This spray has made the biggest difference out of everything I’ve tried to improve my sleep. I spray some on my pillow and at the top of my duvet and instantly the room smells so lovely. The scent is really calming and it has become my favourite part of my night time routine. I use the Sleep Plus spray as it’s only slightly more expensive than the regular version, and in the description it says 100% of people who tried it say it works, which I wholeheartedly believe. I also use a couple of skincare products and keep them beside my bed to help me wind down, including facial oils, moisturisers, hand creams and a lip balm.
Having a distraction on stand-by
A lot of people struggle to fall or stay asleep because their mind is racing, myself included, so I’ve found that having a distraction really helps. If I can’t get to sleep within the usual amount of time it takes me, I scroll through Pinterest on my phone, read Buzzfeed articles or read a book. While every sleep expert says to turn off technology before you go to bed, that just doesn’t work for me. Having my phone nearby keeps my mind occupied so I don’t start panicking about how little sleep I’m getting or how tired I’ll be in the morning. Looking through Pinterest (home interiors is my favourite) or reading lighthearted articles or a book works a charm either before I go to sleep or in the middle of the night. Find what works for you and keep it nearby so you’re never stuck.
Watching what I eat and drink
Unfortunately, I’ve realised that there are several things that I can’t eat or drink before I go to bed because they affect how I sleep. I try my best to steer clear of sugary foods (although that doesn’t always work because, chocolate) if I’m having a particularly bad week, I don’t eat cheese after lunch because it gives me nightmares (seriously, that’s a thing – look it up!) and I’ve started drinking decaf tea instead of regular tea after dinner. I also avoid coffee most days, and will only drink it in the morning if I really need to. It makes a lot of sense that what you put in your body affects how you sleep, so see how you react to different things and you might realise that there’s a pattern in what you eat and how you sleep.
Having a nice bedroom
This will mean different things to different people, but to me having a nice bedroom means having comfy pyjamas, cosy sheets and a clean room. I recently bought brushed cotton sheets and they’re so cosy to wrap myself up in, and I always make sure there’s little clutter around the room. Small things like having fresh sheets and a peaceful atmosphere can make all the difference in helping you relax at night.
Having everything done for the next day
This is one of the most important steps for me. I physically cannot switch off if I’m worrying about something for the next day. When you’re tired, mornings can be really overwhelming so I always prepare as much as I can the night before. I lay out my clothes, have my bag packed and ready to go, make lunch and sort out everything else I need, so in the morning all I have to think about is getting up and going. This little routine really helps to put my mind at ease about the next day, and wires the brain into knowing that you’re going to bed. If I’m worried about something, I always talk to my boyfriend or friends about it before I go to sleep to get it off my mind, and then use my distraction to keep me from over thinking about it.
I hope even one of these tips might help someone who has problems with sleep, because it’s truly one of the most frustrating things in the world! Let me know in the comments if you’ve any tips you swear by, I’d love to hear more!