Sometimes it takes me 2 hours to fall asleep despite feeling tired, and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. Once I get into bed, I am left alone with my mind running a hundred miles per hour – which is not great when you really want to get some sleep! However, I thought it would be useful to share what does help me sleep. This includes breathing techniques, night balms and apps. I know many struggle with this, so I hope some of these tips are helpful. 🙂
Rituals Cosmetics – Ritual of Dao Night Hand Balm
Check it out on the Rituals Cosmetics website.
This Night Balm isn’t specifically for sleeping easy, but I find the scent of white lotus flowers to be particularly soothing. Once I apply it onto my hands and get to sleep, I find that the scent helps to calm me down and make me want to sleep. It’s also quite mild, which means it won’t keep you up at night. Yi Yi Ren, used in traditional Chinese medicine, is known for its skin soothing qualities. I don’t usually use any other hand cream, it’s nice to have one to put on at night while I’m in bed.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique (PMR)
I was recommended this technique about 6 months ago when my anxiety struggles were affecting my sleep. Before this, I never meditated before and I never really did any proper breathing exercises. I find Progressive Muscle Relaxation to be particularly helpful as it not only settles my breathing to make me fee relaxed, but also gives me an opportunity to get rid of the tensions in my muscles before bed. It is usually a relaxation method recommended to people with insomnia and anxiety and it definitely helps me.
Click here for a written guide, and here for an audio version to listen to. I personally prefer the audio one so I can close my eyes, but whatever works for you is best! If you would prefer a different voice however, then there are many different options on YouTube. Work through them and see which one works best for you. After some practice, you will be able to do it without the guide. You also get to choose when you want to do the exercise. I tend to do this exercise about half an hour/an hour before bed to help me sleep.
Calm app (free or £34 a year for the premium version)
Calm is a great app for sleep and meditation. It has the potential to help you calm anxiety, manage stress, improve mindfulness and help you with certain emotions. Sessions can range from 3 to 25 minutes, giving you a varied choice of which kind of session you’d like. It includes Sleep Stories that whisk you away to a relaxing location before bed (narrated by individuals like Stephen Fry!), as well as breathing and meditation tutorials. The app also gives you access to loads of relaxing sounds including waves, rain and calm breezes. Whether you’re a mindfulness novice or pro, Calm may just have something for you.
Other ways to improve sleep:
- No caffeine after 7pm: caffeine can stay in your system for up to 6 hours. When I was at uni, I was definitely guilty of having coffee and tea after that when I had essays due – and it wasn’t doing any good for my sleep. So, I started to have herbal teas after 7pm if I wanted something warm. It gave me the same comfy feeling without the caffeine!
- Read something that’s not on your phone or laptop before you sleep: blue light isn’t great for sleep…
- You sleep better when you’re cool: For hot days, place a cold flannel occasionally on your forehead and feet to get to sleep quicker.
- Create a routine: waking up and going to bed at the same time every day definitely helps your body adjust to when it’s time for bed. Also, having certain rituals you do before bed every night can help too!
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