It was another one of those nights where I promised myself that I’d go to bed early and catch up on some sleep. As I reached to turn out the light I noticed my phone flashing and decided to check the notifications quickly…
…some time later after watching umpteen (vaguely) funny cat videos, I looked at the time; it was 11.47pm and I was wide awake. Bugger.
In fact 36% of the British population are sleep deprived in one way or another and for a good many of us it’s almost entirely self inflicted. We over stimulate our brains with late night TV and social media sessions and groan the next day when our alarm goes off. Then we promise an early night to make up for it only to overdose on caffeine and sugar and start the whole cycle again.
Holland and Barrett offered to help me in my quest to try and get a better night’s sleep. First they invited me to take their sleep quiz to find out my sleep persona (no surprise – it was ‘Late Night Browser‘) and from the results they put together a personalised ‘Sleeping Bag’ of relaxing, calming products for me to try.
I’ve incorporated the products into my night time routine over the past week or so and as I have seen the benefits of establishing a new nightly routine, I thought I’d share my favourite parts with you.
Lavender is widely used in aromatherapy for it’s soothing and relaxing properties. I’ve been spritzing the Lavender Sleep Mist around my room and onto my pillow and bed sheets every night to transform my bedroom instantly into a more calming, inviting haven.
Whilst a sweet smelling, steaming hot bath is my favourite way to unwind, it’s not always practical. Last week I felt restless in bed so I popped downstairs to make myself a a calming steam bath instead. Just fill a bowl with boiled water, add a couple of drops of chamomile/lavender essential oils, then cover your head with a towel and hold it about 8 to 10 inches above the bowl. With your eyes closed inhale for 7 counts, hold the breath for 3 and then exhale fully for 5, then repeat a few times.
Obviously please do be careful if you try this – boiling water and steam WILL burn if you get too close!
Valerian is a herbal product used to provide temporary relief for sleep disturbance. I have used the tablets a couple of times and both times woke up the following morning feeling like I’d had a really good night of rest.
I wouldn’t advocate the use of sleeping pills (herbal or not) as a long term way to treat a sleep condition, but if you just need a temporary helping hand to help you catch up on your sleep for a few nights then these are worth a try.
If I do end up having a hot bath or shower before bed, I apply some scented moisturiser afterwards. Not only does it help keep my skin soft and prevent it drying out from the heat, but it’s another form of aromatherapy to me wind down before bed. This one smells lovely and is a nice rich buttery consistency.
…this one isn’t from Holland and Barrett but my massage oil from The Body Shop’s Spa Of The World range has fit so well into my new routine that I had to mention it! The last thing I’ve been doing before lights out is to warm a few drops of this massage oil between my palms and then apply it in circular motions to my arms and pulse points as a final fragrant treat.
…it’s a wee bit on the pricey side though, so as an alternative you could use the Miaroma Relaxing Lavender Temple Balm that Holland and Barrett sent me to try. It serves the same purpose and is a bit less messy than an oil, the only reason I haven’t really used it is that it isn’t quite as luxurious as the oil I’ve already got at home!
I’ve wanted a silk pillowcase for ages purely for vanity reasons (the smoothness against your skin helps to prevent creases) but it turns out that it’s really comfortable to sleep on too! I haven’t yet turned the heating on in the bedroom and the combination of a cool room and pillowcase mixed with a cosy warm duvet is a match made in heaven for me.
Of course it’s all very well doing the things above, but if you then sit glued to your phone for the next 30 minutes you’ll cancel out all of your good work! I’ve been doing my best (some nights better than others admittedly) to ban my phone late at night. Instead I’ve been distracting myself with a good book, whether it’s flicking through a coffee table read like Lauren Conrad’s Style (my current favourite) or getting stuck into an epic tale. I used to read using a Kindle but these days I find it easier to listen via audiobooks as it means that I can pop in my earphones, snuggle under the covers and listen to a few chapters with the light off.
I also signed up to Spotify recently which is a music app where you pay a monthly fee and then have full access to their library of music. I’ve found plenty of playlists on there entitled ‘Sleep’ which are compilations of pure chillout music, or even just sound effects like rain pattering against a window!
Whilst I can’t say I’ve managed to shake my late night browsing habits completely, with a few simple tweaks to my night time routine I’ve already seen some improvement on how long and deep I’ve been sleeping. As well as drifting off to sleep earlier, I’ve been able to get up when my alarm first goes off, giving me time to do some exercise and beat some of the traffic on my commute to work, so all in all it’s been a really positive experience. All I need to do now is keep it up!
Do you struggle to get a good night’s sleep? You can take the Holland And Barrett Sleep Quiz here – let me know your sleep persona!
Disclaimer: This isn’t a sponsored post but contains PR items, which I have provided my honest views on.