I feel like I spent a lot of 2018 not getting a restful night’s sleep, from noisy housemates to work worries, there are many ways peaceful slumber can become interrupted and waking up exhausted is the worst. For me, knowing I had to make it through an entire day of classes, sometimes waking at 5:30am and not getting to see my bed again until gone 10pm on little to no sleep made me irritable and worried I wasn’t giving my teaching my all.
We all go through periods of broken sleep, either going to bed and being unable to wind down from a busy day or waking up in the night, clock watching and working out how many hours of sleep you can achieve in the hours before your alarm sounds, so I wanted to put together the methods I found helped me achieve 8 hours of sweet dreams. You can either follow this guide in the steps I have listed below or choose parts to apply to your nighttime routine. Sometimes, if I get back from teaching late and still have to eat dinner and then wind down for bed, it’s not always possible to get all these steps in – and as much as i’d like you all to think I have some fabulously holistic evening every night, that would be a lie!
Bath Time – Approximately 1.5 Hours Before Bedtime.
I love baths. I can’t fathom why anyone would not like a long hot bath laced with essential oils at the end of a tiring day, but if they aren’t for you, I will get to that in a moment. I am lucky to live in a home with an amazing bathtub (it’s not mine FYI) so I have really been making the most of its depths since moving into my new home. Baths are a fantastic way of helping to soothe tired minds and muscles at the end of a hard work day and there are lots of things you can add to your bath to really reap the benefits in aiding a brilliant nights sleep. I tend to keep it simple, adding a large handful of Epsom Salts which helps to alleviate tension in sore muscles and a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil. If Lavender is not your thing, you can play around with different oil blends, adding a couple of drops of each until you find one that works for you. Chamomile, Ylang Ylang and Frankincense are all great options. I found that generic bubble bath mixture dries out my already sensitive skin so I steer clear of these, however if I am suffering from dryness or want to get silky smooth, adding a generous measure of baby oil is perfect for soft skin (make sure to thoroughly rinse the bathtub after using baby oil as it makes it super slippery!). For those of you who are dead set against the wonders of baths, you can add couple of drops of essential oils to the shower tray and as the hot water hits the oils, the scent of the oils will infuse the steam! Make sure you keep the lights low and light plenty of candles and any bathroom can become a sanctuary for sleep!*
Skincare – Approximately 1 Hour Before Bedtime
I hate having dry skin. It never used to be sensitive or dry when I was younger, but the older I get the more attention it needs. A great product to get baby soft skin and add to your repertoire of sleep aids is the Sleepy body lotion from Lush. I love Lush and I use lots of their products, but I came across Sleepy when I was shopping for a birthday gift for my Stepmum and ended up buying a gift for myself…
It smells amazing! Personally, I think it smells like some sort of confectionary which could be from the Tonka Bean and has a subtle shimmer (I hate any products with glitter in, but I will make an exception for shimmer) and I think there’s something so delicious about getting in to bed with soft, sweet smelling skin. Sometimes I also add a drop of Lavender oil into a handful of Sleepy to emphasise the Lavender flower used in the lotion if I am feeling particularly restless.
Chamomile Tea – Approximately 45 Minutes Before Bedtime.
I cannot emphasise enough how much Chamomile tea sends me to sleep, I swear it has magical properties. I love loose leaf teas and the Chamomile tea I use is from a local shop in our city, but you can buy it from any supermarket. It smells so wonderfully soothing and as you drink it you can almost feel it wrap you in a warm blanket preparing you for bedtime. I drink a big cup about an hour before I plan to go to sleep. For loose leaf tea you will need a tea strainer or infuser and make sure you follow the brewing instructions on the packet to make the perfect cup!
No Electronics – Approximately 30 Minutes Before Bedtime.
I have to say, this is where I usually fail at a perfectly crafted plan to fall asleep peacefully. Sometimes it’s just too tempting to put on another episode of Gossip Girl or have one more scroll through Instagram! The blue light emitted from electronic devices, especially our phones, can delay the release of a chemical called melatonin that induces sleep. Not to mention, we are tempted to answer emails or messages at such a late hour, adding to a never ending to do list. Try moving your charger away from your bed, setting it to night mode and leaving your phone across the room at nighttime to decrease the hours you are using it and increase the time the brain is not stimulated by electronic devices. Try to avoid watching TV in bed, try listening to relaxing music or reading a book in the evening.
Pillow Sprays and Oil Diffusers – Approximately 15 Minutes Before Bedtime.
Back to my favourite – essential oils! I love my entire bedroom to smell like Lavender and I always find I sleep better if my bedding smells of it too. At the moment I am using the REN & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray which was a Christmas Gift and it smells wonderful! You can get pillow sprays from lots of different places or you can make it yourself! Just grab a spray bottle, some bottled still water and your favourite essential oils and spray away! Another great option to add an Oil Diffuser to your bedroom. Mine was a total steal from Home Bargains but you can buy them from lots of high street stores or online. Many also glow in various soothing colours which adds to the calming ambience you are aiming for in your bedroom!
So there you have it! My Ultimate Bedtime Routine! These are the methods I fall back on when I am struggling to get a restful nights sleep and I hope they help any of you who are struggling to get your recommended 8 hours. I have tried to link any of the products I have recommended in this post so you can shop for anything I have listed. If you have any other ideas to recommend for a peaceful night of sweet dreams, comment below!
(I am not affiliated nor was I gifted any of the products by any brands or companies listed in the above post. All of the products used in this post were purchased myself or given as gifts to me from friends or family.)