As a blogger, when you get contacted by someone (sleepadvisor.org) who offers to write a guest post you say “Of course!” Thank you Sarah for sharing with us!
Hi there, my name’s Sarah and I’m a self-confessed sleep addict. If I don’t get eight hours a night I can barely function the following day. When I’m not curled up in bed you will find me at my desk writing about all things slumber. Prioritising a good night’s rest changed my life and I fully believe that if as a society we altered our attitude to sleep we would all be a little happier and a lot healthier. Sweet dreams!
The bedtime routine that healthy people do before bed
You know those people that look immaculate in the mornings? Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with dewy skin and not a hint of excess baggage under their eyes. You know them. Of course you do.
They’re morning people. Healthy people. And they don’t have a giant bag of different concealers hidden somewhere; no, they look well-rested because they are. Their “big magic trick” is simply getting to bed early, and having a routine before bedtime that helps them to fall asleep easily.
So the secret’s out. Good sleep = beauty. Because no matter how many great skincare products you buy, you’ll never quite be able to shake off that sleep-deprived look. Dark circles become the norm, a pallid complexion your constant companion. Sigh.
But beauty aside, sleep is the thing that makes us happier, healthier people in general. All the sleep websites will tell you that. Physically, it strengthens our immune system, it gives us more energy and it protects us from a range of conditions like diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Mentally, it reduces feelings of lethargy, anxiety and depression whilst helping us to be less stressed out on a daily basis.
So now you know the power of a good sleep, how can you go about getting it? Well, follow what those healthy people do. Create a bedtime routine.
Step 1: Enjoy a herbal tea
Ditch the caffeine and sip on a relaxing drink like chamomile tea instead. Known for its soothing properties, it’ll help you wind down in the evenings rather than getting all jittery with a jumping mind after that americano. Make sure you have it at least an hour before bed though – no one likes those middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks!
Step 2: Switch off the screens
This is a really hard step for most people, who are used to watching TV in bed, responding to emails or checking their phone right up until lights out. But, as addictive as that Netflix drama might be, it isn’t doing your sleep any favours. This is because the blue light that screens emit actually block the body’s production of serotonin, which normally helps us to relax. It also over-stimulates the mind instead of helping it settle down, whether you realise it or not? The result? Difficulty in getting to sleep, or poor-quality, broken sleep when you eventually do.
So do what the healthy people do – watch one episode of whatever you must after dinner, then switch those screens off. Or save the TV for the weekend. Or ditch watching TV altogether! Now that’s progress. Use all your extra time for healthier, more nurturing activities, like the ones outlined below.
Step 3: Have a bath
Obviously, you shouldn’t be doing this every night for environmental reasons. But when you’re feeling particularly stressed out, or feel wide awake and hyped up, a bath can work wonders. It’s your chance to have some “you time”, away from family commitments and work worries and all those plans bouncing around your head.
Light a few candles, diffuse a soothing essential oil and enjoy this deeply relaxing time. Tip: If you don’t have a bath, a nice hot shower is a great way to clear your head before bed, too!
Step 4: Try a meditation exercise
It doesn’t have to be for very long; but even the sheer act of focusing on your breath and your body can bring you back to the present moment, away from planning and remembering. A great one before bedtime is to lie on the floor (or your bed, if you prefer) and focus on each part of your body, from the toes on your right foot up to the top of your head. As you picture each part relaxing, notice how your body seems to melt into the surface supporting you. It’s an ideal way to calm your body and mind, setting you up for a great sleep.
Step 5: Read
Rather than checking your phone, or watching TV, go old school and crack open a book. It’ll focus your brain on something other than the day’s events, settling it down without other thoughts popping in for attention. You might notice that you feel much sleepier after reading a few pages; or even fall asleep with the book in your hand! (It happens).
Reading before bedtime is much easier than turning off the lights and expecting to conk out straight away. Instead it leads you gently towards dreamland, and a fresher you come morning.
So the next time you’re having trouble sleeping, follow this bedtime routine. Keep it up every night for at least a week – you’ll already start noticing a big difference in how you sleep, not to mention how you look and act the next day!
May you sleep better, and live healthier, from this moment on.
***Karen’s Note: While I’ve certainly had my share of insomnia off and on, I’d say it is one problem I have NOT struggled with on a regular basis. I sleep like a rock most every night, and it feels so great! I always say I LOVE my sleep. Yet, so many women struggle. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful. A number of year ago I purchased a feather pillow versus the memory foam versions and it was a good decision
When it comes to the Style or Beauty piece, one of my best tips that a number of clients have embraced is: Do your skincare routine earlier in the evening instead of right before you are ready to go to bed. It can “revive” you a little when you come home from an exhausting work day. It also allows your skin to absorb those good ingredients just a little longer each evening. It takes some discipline and must become a habit, but I can tell you from experience your skin will benefit!