As someone who advocates healthy living, you'd expect me to be living the ultimate clean and green life. However, I must admit there are certainly one or two areas of my life that I'm desperately working hard to clean up. One involves chocolate the other involves my sleeping pattern... Yes, I have gone from being a total morning bird to, during my University years, a complete night owl and I'm fighting tooth and claw back to return to my original status!
The fab team at Casper got in touch to make me aware of #BetterSleepMonth which is taking place throughout May, and introduced me to their Napping 101 guide, which has totally encouraged me to re-evaluate my lifestyle choices in order to achieve a better nights sleep.
Usually, I hit the sack at around 11pm but occasionally it can be later if Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat is having an eventful evening. As I work shifts, my morning alarm can vary from 5.30am to 8/9am (I do try to wake up at a normal hour when I'm working a later shift!). When you've fallen asleep at 11pm and you're up at 5.30am, that really isn't enough sleep to keep you going for a full days work so I've been trying to achieve a more regular sleeping pattern, so I figured it would be a pretty good idea to introduce you to some of the tips and tricks that have been making this dream a reality.
1. Get. Off. Your. Phone. All technology, just turn it off. It's something we're all encouraged to do but how many of us do it? I don't necessarily agree you need to have your phone and all technology out of the bedroom but for goodness sake, bedtime means bedtime. You have all day to scroll through your Instagram feed and guess what? It's still going to be there in the morning! Just try it tonight, and if you need to keep your mind busy, read a book or a magazine and prepare to get a really good nights sleep in the land of snooze...
2. Set yourself a regular bedtime. Unless you have to work the occasional night shift, it's well worth setting yourself a regular bedtime such as 10pm every night. Get your evening skincare routine done way before then, get in your pj's and get into bed at that time, without fail, every night. Random bedtimes will mean your body clock gets confused and when you do go to sleep, your mind may struggle to shut down and get you to sleep.
3. Create a cosy slumber setting. If you're anything like I once was, a floordrobe is this mysterious piece of furniture that suddenly appears one day and grows rapidly over time. My floordrobe days are well past me now, fortunately, because my bedroom is a clean, tidy but cosy slumber palace.
Good quality mattress, duvet and pillows are essential, and I love layering things with fluffy cushions and different textured throws that I can throw on or off as the seasons change. By creating a cosy and comfortable bedroom will remind your brain that your bedroom is for sleep....
4. Nap More. Yes, you read that correctly! Napping is actually incredibly important when it comes to increasing your productivity, keep your heart healthy, reduce stress and anxiety, boost your memory, balance hormones and reduce risk of diabetes and strokes. Phew! Any excuse for a kip, eh?
A short and sweet nap during the day is perfect to reboot your energy levels, get your shiz done and still have a serene sleep come bedtime!
So if you're currently at University and have deadlines and exams looming and all you want to do is use your books as an albeit, rather uncomfortable pillow, go for it! But keep it short and sweet - 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a cat nap to re-energise and get back to the grind.
Avoid long naps as you'll find yourself tossing and turning when it comes to your actual bedtime.
Casper* have created this fab infographic to emphasise the importance of napping that they're kindly sharing with you lucky lot. For more tips on how to make the most of your nap, see below...
5. Create a relaxing ambience with a dreamy scented candle. Obviously, I must remind you of safety first - make sure you blow out any flames before your head hits the pillow! However, I do find filling the room with a relaxing, dreamy aroma creates the perfect setting for a well rested night of sleep. My current favourite is this beautiful candle from Katie Loxton. The Sweet Dreams candle holds the calming, fresh fragrance of soft cotton and jasmine which makes for a welcoming change to classic lavender scents.
6. Treat yourself to some reading material. As I mentioned earlier, it's easy to feel scrolling through Twitter can be considered reading. The 21st Century it may be, but reading that ain't! Head to a bookstore or hop onto Amazon and treat yourself to some new books to help send you off to a peaceful slumber. My Mum always told me to read if I couldn't sleep and every night I read, I almost always have the best nights sleep! Don't judge but I actually really enjoy reading cookbooks before bed! Just don't read it on an empty stomach...!
7. Have a warm drink. I've been in the habit since I was a little girl to have a small snack before bed - usually cookies or a sugary hot chocolate back in the day! To avoid the hungry monster making a visit a few hours before bed time, sip on a warm drink to calm your body and calm your mind. I love drinking peppermint tea before bed as it aids with digestion following dinner but I also find it really hits the sweet spot (I tend to crave sweeter things before bed!). If you fancy something a little more substantial, try a homemade hot chocolate with good quality cocoa/cacao, almond or hazelnut milk and a smidge of coconut sugar if needs be.
What steps do you take to ensure a good nights sleep? Are you a Night Owl or an Early Bird? Are you a fan of taking a nap during the day (who isn't?!)? Don't forget to use the hashtag #BetterSleepMonth on social media to share your favourite sleep tips this month!
*PR Sample - thank you so much to the team at Casper for working with me on this post!