There are numerous documented positive health benefits that can be attributed to a good night's sleep. From improving memory, attention and concentration to keeping your heart healthy and helping to manage stress levels and mental wellbeing. If that wasn’t enough, getting a good night's sleep is also one of the best things we can do for our skin, leaving us not only feeling more refreshed, but looking more refreshed too.
We have all at some time been in the position where we haven’t had the right amount of sleep that we require, leaving us groggy and moody, which can leave a detrimental impact on the day ahead, and our personal wellbeing.
Despite many of us knowing how important sleep is to our health, falling asleep can be an issue for some of us. With the stresses we may feel in our everyday lives, we may get to bed with every intention of a good night sleep, only to spend more time pondering our thoughts and worrying about the events of the day, or what we need to do the next day, thus having a seriously detrimental effect on peacefully transcending into the land of nod and enjoyable sweet dreams.
Taking sleep seriously for those of us struggling to chill out and relax can be helped with a few techniques that can help us minimise those annoying thoughts that keep us awake at night.
Good sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is important. Most of us like a clean and tidy environment, however achieving this in our own homes can be challenging when we have so much other stuff that needs to be achieved on a daily basis. Sometimes our own living environments suffer, while we spend our lives trying to be everything to everyone else.
If decluttering and tidying is one thing you’re struggling with, while trying to fit everything else into a busy routine, it's a good idea to try and compartmentalise your decluttering and tidying duties. Starting on small sections and congratulating yourself along the way on your decluttering journey will help ingrain a positive mindset to help tackle any cleaning challenges.
The bedroom is a great place to start, because once you have created a clean and tidy Utopia in the one place in your house where you should be spending at least 8 hours of unadulterated rest and relaxation, the knock on effect will be having more head space and motivation to inspire the whole house to become an organised sanctuary, that makes you feel calm and refreshed and able to regain control of your environment.
The KonMarie Method
Marie Kondo of Netflix fame, is someone who is worth familiarising yourself with if you are on a journey to declutter and regain control of your environment. Her technique which is rooted in Japanese culture is inspiring as it promotes mindfulness with the ongoing chore of tidying up. We love the way that the KonMarie technique encourages us how to show gratitude to the things we no longer need in our lives, thanking them for what they have given to us before discarding them if necessary.
The principle works on the fact that everything is energy (even that skirt that you have kept for years, despite the fact that you haven’t fit into it since you were in your early twenties). It is time to let go of the items in your bedroom that you no longer need, but are cluttering your environment and your head space. Showing gratitude to an item before letting it go, whether that means taking it to a charity shop, listing it on Ebay or upcycling it into something useful, is a process that will free up wardrobe space and head space.
I personally have done the KonMarie technique in my bedroom (the rest of the house is a work in progress that is happening in line with my other priorities), and the feeling I get when I open a drawer and can see exactly what I have to wear is liberating. Isn’t it strange how if your drawers are unorganised and bursting at the seams, you can almost feel the mess inside them in the energy of the room even when those drawers are closed. The energy in my bedroom is definitely different when I know that what is behind those closed drawers and wardrobe doors is well organised. It is almost as though positive energy can flow more easily around objects that serve a purpose and 'Spark Joy'.
Once your bedroom has been decluttered and made into a serene safe haven for your improved wellbeing and health care, the finishing touches can catapult your environment into a sanctuary that you thoroughly deserve, but may well have been depriving yourself of.
Dress your bed like it is in a 5 star hotel suite.
If you can afford to splurge on some new bedding, or if your in the market for a new mattress, these purchases can really help to make the bedroom feel like a special place. If you are buying new fitted sheets, a good idea is to measure the thickness of your mattress before you buy, and to check the sheet label to see if it fits your specific mattress size. Otherwise you could end up with a fitted sheet that is too taught, and it will pop off and make the process of bed making more difficult. If you are in the market for new sheets, Egyptian Cotton is widely considered to be the finest cotton you can buy and a great choice for fitted sheets and pillowcases.
Soft, inviting pillows are a must have for snuggling down to a good nights sleep. Take a look under your pillow case and be honest for a moment. Do your pillows need throwing away? Many of us will notice that pillows start to yellow if they are past their sell by date. You can prolong the life of pillows by putting a pillow protector on them before you put your pillow case on, but unfortunately they still won't last forever.
A new product on the market in the UK which has been brought to you by All Over The Drop is the Aromatherapy Pillow. These pillows are filled with sustainable organic cotton and different dried plant fillings.
Organic cotton is not treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) so when you rest your head you won't be exposing your skin to, or breathing in harmful toxins.
What you will be breathing in are the aromatherapy benefits of the organic dried plant matter that is infused into the pillow. Chose from pillows infused with Lavender, Chamomile flowers or Rose Petals.
Therapeutically the separate pillows offer different properties that will enhance your night time experience and give you a heightened sense of wellbeing when you awake from your slumber.
If you can't afford a splurge on new bedding, use what you have and spend a little time improving the aesthetic design of the bed. As a simple guide, put the sheets and duvet on, plump the pillows and place where you put your head, add a couple of complimentary cushions, and a folded throw, placed on the bottom half of the bed.
Getting into the habit of making your bed religiously when you wake up will instantly make your room feel tidy and uncluttered.
Laundering bedding is something that many of us only have the free time to get stuck into on a weekend. There really is nothing like getting into a bed with clean sheets, but all the washing, drying and ironing of sheets, is an unfortunate but necessary ball ache.
To keep sheets feeling fresher throughout the week and to help with getting into the mood for a good night's sleep, a linen spray infused with Lavender could be just what you need to finalise the creation of your newly improved resting place.
Aromatherapy to create a beautiful fragrance and promote sedation.
The finishing touch to your sleep sanctuary can be made by adding relaxing and sedative aromas, such as Lavender, Chamomile, Patchouli or Cedarwood essential oils to fragrance your room. Aromatherapy linen sprays can be bought readymade in shops and online and there are lots to choose from. If you're on a budget, or if you like to know what goes into the products you use in your home you can easily create a homemade linen spray to rival the big brands.
Our Lavender linen spray recipe will not only spruce up your sheets but can be used throughout the house, on cushions, pillows and curtains, or on any fabric that would benefit from a quick refresh.
All you need is a glass spray bottle, Lavender (or other essential oils with sedative qualities), some Witch Hazel (or Vodka) and some water.
Take a glass spray bottle (plastic will react badly with the essential oils) and add 20mls of Witch Hazel or Vodka and 40 drops of Lavender essential oil. Give the solution a shake, (the Witch Hazel or Vodka will help to emulsify the essential oils with the water). After shaking, top the bottle up with water, use distilled water if you are feeling a bit fancy, and shake again.
This aromatherapy sleep spray will not only work well to improve your sleep, but looks really pretty too. It's a very cost effective substitute to buying a linen spray and if you add a cute homemade label you can display it on your newly decluttered bedside table, or make a few batches of linen spray and gift them to friends and family.
Cut out the alcohol.
Back in the day I would have downed the vodka used in the linen spray recipe to get myself off to sleep, but experience and science suggests that this is not the best way to get a good nights rest. Yes, alcohol can put us to sleep quite quickly, as long as you don't consume enough to make the room spin, but it also upsets the quality of our sleep and gives our livers excess work to do getting rid of the alcohol toxins when it should be working to cleanse our bodies of any other bad stuff that shouldn't be there. If you like a regular drink, challenge yourself to abstain from alcohol for a week, it will have a profound effect on your sleep quality and on cognitive ability throughout the day.
Limiting electronics before bed.
Ok so this final tip is one that I wholeheartedly struggle with, not helped by the fact I have a flat screen TV bolted to the wall right opposite where I rest my head on my pillow, so I can’t preach on this one. I think it’s fair to say that if you (like me) are able to find peaceful relaxation with your electronic gadgets by your side then crack on with what you are doing. If insomnia has truly got the better of you, then try to improve your sleep hygiene, utilise aromatherapy, abstain from alcohol, and there is no harm in cutting out the electronic devices too.