Everywhere you look you see guides for how to get your newborn to sleep through the night, or top tips for getting toddlers to stay in bed past 5am. BUT you don’t see that much about adults who struggle to sleep..and there are a lot of us.
I have struggled massively with sleep since my first pregnancy four years ago. It’s hard to sleep properly during pregnancy for various reasons, anxiety about becoming a parent..discomfort, increased need for the toilet and lots of other issues which all contribute to a not so great night of sleep. Then you plunge into the newborn haze where a full nights sleep is a distant dream and suddenly they sleep through and yet you still aren’t. Between Izzy learning to sleep through ( around 13 months old ) and getting pregnant with Chloe about 6 months later I still barely slept. I had night terrors, I would wake up early or just not manage to get to sleep for hours at night. This continued throughout a very difficult pregnancy with Chloe and well since then sleep is always a dream away. Chloe barely sleeps and even when we get a nights break when my parents or Andrews parents have the girls for us I still don’t sleep properly but I do feel as though I’m ( very ) slowly learning about the things which help.
Here are a few of the products/gadgets/tips I’ve discovered this year:
* Decluttering and having a clear space. This is still an ongoing work in progress but it’s getting better. Our bedroom is almost complete and as it becomes more clutter free it’s definitely a calmer place to be.
* A good quality bed and mattress. A decent bed is a must. Even if you can’t sleep then if you lie down just to rest, at least do it in comfort.
* A Lumie Clock – I was gifted a Lumie clock as part of a gift guide a few months ago and I’ve been so impressed with it since then. It has an aromatherapy setting on it so I can have lavender scents drifting through the air while I try to unwind. I like the gradual sunset and sunrise. It’s become a part of my bedtime routine – YES routine…adults need this too don’t ya know.
* Rescue Remedy Night Spray from Bach Flower Remedies – I was sent some of this a little while ago but didn’t really use it much. When my sleep habits became really difficult I took sleeping tablets some nights in order to let my body rest. This was a mistake and looking back I wish I hadn’t done it. It worked – in the sense that I did sleep but I felt almost drunk after taking it and to a certain extent hungover the following day. When I decided to get rid of any type of medication at night I started using this and maybe it’s just the action of doing it but I start feeling sleepier after I use the spray. It soothes me. I also use the daytime spray when things become a bit much but I’ll talk about that again.
* Audio Books – this was a tip my GP gave to me. Listening to audio books is incredibly relaxing. I could never give up reading an actual book as I love to read but some audio books especially one I recently bought called Mindfulness are narrated by people with incredibly soothing voices. If you use a kindle to listen you can normally check out a sample before buying.
* Go to bed earlier. It sounds so simple but if it takes you an hour to get to sleep, then if possible go up an hour earlier. Rest in bed. Read. Just chill out.
* Keep a notepad by your bed – worried about something? Write a list or a note of it then try to store it away until the next day. After all you are in bed, you can’t do anything about it. Have too many thoughts/reminders/things to do – write them down. Look at it in the morning. Chances are most of them are not important.
* Have a soothing book or image by your bed. Years ago Andrew gave me the Little Book Of Calm. I read a page or two at least once a week. Some very obvious tips, others are just calming to read. Worth a look.
* Keep a sleep diary – if you have a particularly bad or good night, write it down. Try to remember if anything helped or hindered your sleep. I have been using a Misfit Flash to record my daily activities – mostly for fitness but it also records you restful sleep periods. I find it really useful and incredibly accurate. My most restful sleep is normally at about 4am when my body and mind must be so worn out that I just lay there like a rock. It’s important not to obsess about the lack of sleep but I do find this a really useful tool.
* Exhaust yourself – obviously don’t make yourself ill but push yourself physically. As you would tire out a toddler who has eaten too many biscuits then make yourself go for a long walk. The fresh air will calm you and a tired body can help you rests more easily. Also stimulate your brain throughout the day. Challenge yourself mentally. Tire your brain out too.
* Watch what you eat and drink – it’s obvious that you should try to avoid sugar and caffeine before bed but there are other things which can stop you sleeping. Find you wake up a lot to use the bathroom? Try to stop drinking anything at a certain time. Make sure you make up for this during the day. Alcohol can relax you but also disturb your sleep and cause nightmares. Find out how it affects you and learn when to avoid it. Have a snack late evening so you aren’t hungry during the night – as you will definitely not sleep well if hungry but don’t eat a heavy meal less than 2 hours before bed.
Do you have any sleep tips? As its my blog birthday this week the best tip ( chosen by a twitter follower) will be gifted a box of chocolates from me as thank you. Just don’t eat them before bed 😉
* Some items were gifted as part of previous posts/reviews.