The Importance of a Good Night's Sleep - And How To Get One!

May 14, 2014

I once heard that a person will survive longer without food than they will without sleep. I don't know if that is true but when I was nursing my daughter and getting barely 3 hours sleep a night I was inclined to believe it!

When I am tired I really suffer. I'm not someone who needs a lot of sleep but I do need to get good quality, undisturbed sleep. I am very much a morning person - I will wake up before the alarm most mornings and I'll be wide awake ready to go within a couple of minutes. Having said that, if I've had a late or a restless night then I will be the complete opposite - my limbs will feel like lead and I won't want to get up. I will also feel it all throughout the day in everything I do, often I will get a headache, sore eyes, not be able to concentrate, feel hungry all day and have a very short temper.

So, for myself and those around me it is important that I get a good night's sleep! For me, this starts with my bedtime routine. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a toddler but that is where the inspiration came from. I know that my daughter needs a routine and a number of physical and mental queues to let her (and her body) know that it's nearly bed time and to start winding down from her busy day. One day I decided to apply that to myself so that my body would hopefully respond to a routine and I'd settle down easier.

I've listed my routine below and have added in the times that I work towards but you can adjust the times to suit you.

I've also done a video which you can watch by clicking here.

Eating and drinking throughout the day

I never like to go to bed hungry so I make sure I eat regularly throughout the day so that I don't feel the need for an evening snack. We eat tea at 6pm to fit in with our daughter so if I really do feel the need to have something past 7pm I try to have some plain nuts. I also try to keep my sugar intake to a minimum generally throughout the day but this is especially important to remember if you want a good night's sleep. 

I personally avoid caffeine all the time these days but if you are a coffee or tea lover then try to stop by 2pm. Caffeine stays in your system for 6-8 hours (read my post all about caffeine *here*) so if you want to fall asleep easily and have a restful night's sleep then try to avoid any afternoon drinks.

Take off make up, get changed into comfy clothes 18:00

As soon as I am home and I know I am not going back out again I take my make up off and get into some comfy clothes. I use almond oil and a hot flannel to remove my make up. You can watch my 'get un-ready with me' video by clicking *here*.

Finish off important things by 20:30-21:00

I try to make sure that if I have a blog post to write, comments to reply to, something to prepare for the next day, some tidying to do, etc I get it done by half eight. This isn't always possible so I either let myself run late or I follow the next step.

Write a To Do list

If you're like me you will have a million and one things going around in your head all the time then things will probably only get worse as bed time approaches! I always have a note pad and paper handy so part of winding down in the evening is writing down ideas and to do lists in my note pad. Often I split my to do list into 'asap' and 'sometime soon' so that I can clearly prioritise in my mind and not feel over whelmed. 

Do whatever relaxes you and lets you switch off

For me this is watching TV and YouTube videos, for others it would be reading, or something else. I find I need to have a bit of 'zombie' time before bed and allow myself to switch off and not have to concentrate too much. 

Get ready for bed 22:00

I like to go upstairs and follow my 'getting un-ready' routine which is pretty much the same every night. Obviously you do what suits you and your skin but I like to:
  • Brush my teeth
  • Use my Konjac sponge
  • Apply lip balm
  • Use a heavier, overnight oil (like Avocado)
  • Put my hair in a plait ready for bed
Pillow Spray

I love to use this beautiful, softly scented Bloom Remedies Pillow Mist to help signal it is time for sleep. I believe in association and this part of my routine is the final part that tells my body and my mind that I need to switch off and sleep.

I tried a few different sprays before but they were all too over powering and the smell actually distracted me from sleep instead of encouraging it! This spray is designed for babies and toddlers so it is lovely and mild but still enough of a scent to create an association.

Be in bed with everything off by 22:30

Now I am all clean and ready for bed, everything is done (or written down ready for tomorrow), my pillow smells like 'sleep' and I have no technological distractions. I turn my phone onto silent - ideally it would be off but I am too paranoid to do that! I turn it upside down and tuck it under my bed so that no light will wake me in the night.

I try to keep away from my phone when I am getting into/ready for bed otherwise one thing will lead to another and I'll still be up at midnight on twitter or watching make up collection videos on YouTube! That was a hard habit to break though! It literally took months of practice. 

Little extra help

If I am still struggling to sleep and just can't quieten my thoughts I do a bit of focused thinking - a little bit like meditation I guess. I lie on my back and slowly move my thoughts up my body: I curl up my toes and focus on them, I tighten the muscles in my lower legs and focus on them and then move my way up my body. I find that concentrating on one thing at a time helps me forget and ignore the other things that were going on, I very rarely make it all the way up my whole body! 

Do you have any coping techniques you can share? Please do let me know! 
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  1. Lovely post Rach, your routine is very similar to mine - eerily so! I also use a 'box' visualisation - I imagine writing a list of all the things that are on my mind, then putting that list into a lockable box and turning the key, so my problems are shut away and not to be opened until the morning. x

  2. Love this! Routine is everything! Great post, and especially like the pillow spray, I will have to check that out!


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