We all have those days when we feel like the walking dead and coffee is life. But if you’re a regular at the wide-awake club, relying on caffeine to get things done can lead to a vicious cycle and make your insomnia worse. Follow these steps to create a healthy bedtime routine and – hopefully after a while – a good night’s sleep won’t just be a distant daydream.
Block out artificial light
As people, we have a built-in body clock, which is naturally triggered by the rise and fall of the sun. In the evening, as it gets darker, we should naturally produce the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel relaxed and sleepy. Stress, Starbucks and over-stimulation can all interfere with this process. If you live in a city and your bedroom doesn’t get fully dark, investing in a pair of blackout curtains is a good call. Alternatively, a silk eye mask, like the one that comes in the Scentered Sleep Essentials Set, will work well, too.
Create a calming atmosphere
Marjoram, lavender, and chamomile are three of the best essential oils to help you unwind and promote sleep. Learning how to use aromatherapy at different times of the day to influence your mood and energy levels is easier than you might think. If you travel regularly, Scentered Sleep Well Travel Candle can transform the unknown into a cosy retreat. Diffusing essential oils or massaging your feet with a couple of drops can work well, too. Alternatively, try spraying Anatomicals you don't need meds to get more zeds lavender pillow spray over your bed linen.
Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm
It’s best to switch to caffeine-free herbal tea or a healthy fruit smoothie after 2pm to give yourself a good chance at getting those Zzzs. Your diet is another thing to think about if you’re having trouble sleeping. Oily fish, bananas and other foods that are high in vitamin B6 help our bodies to produce more melatonin, so these are always good options. Foods high in the amino acid, tryptophan, such as turkey, milk, nuts and seeds are all good, too.
Switch off tech an hour before bed
The blue light emitted by iPads, phones and TV’s can all keep us awake at night. Instead of watching a TV show or chatting on WhatsApp try reading a paperback or listen to a guided sleep meditation and put on a Spacemasks self-heating eye mask. The heating eye mask relieves tension and will help you to drift away into a gorgeous slumber accompanied by the dreamy scent of jasmine.
Introduce a bedtime routine and stick to it
Establishing a routine is key to showing insomnia who's boss – try going to bed at the same time each night and setting your alarm for the same time each morning. Introducing a routine, which you repeat each night will teach your body to switch off. Try sipping on a cup of chamomile or valerian root tea and then rubbing some sleep balm on your pressure points. Taking a warm bath with Epsom salts and a couple of drops lavender oil will relax your muscles and your mind.
Savasana yourself to sleep
Gentle yoga and stretching before bed can relax your body and ease tension. Reclining Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), Knee Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana), Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana) and Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) are all good before bed. Avoid backbends and dynamic vinyasa flow yoga, as these can give you more energy. If you’re too tired to move, don’t fight that feeling. Instead, lie in Savasana and simply focus on your breath – that’s yoga, too!
Take the pressure off
If insomnia is something that you’ve been through before, it might be the anxiety about not being able to fall asleep which is keeping you awake in the first place. Oddly enough, if you can’t get to sleep, doctors advise actually getting out of bed. Keep a novel or a colouring book beside your bed and if find yourself awake and panicking in the middle of the night, get out of bed for a bit and read or colour until you feel your eyelids starting to drop.
Herbal medicines and tinctures for insomnia
Valerian, hops and 5-HTP are three types of supplement that you can buy in natural health shops but relying on these for more than a couple of weeks isn’t recommended. If you’re really struggling, it’s always good to go to your doctor and get their professional opinion – even if it’s just to put your mind at ease. Sometimes, a problem shared is a problem solved.