As you can imagine, since having a baby, sleep has become a hot topic in our household. “Enjoy your sleep now whilst you can” was a phrase that I was subjected to time and time again whilst I was pregnant but I don’t think you quite realise just how valuable (and blooming lovely) sleep is until you’ve been in and out of bed five times in one night and have barely managed two hours of consecutive snooze time before it is time to get up and start the day! Feeling sleepy when you can’t sleep is the worst! It literally effects everything…my mood, stress levels, energy, health and general motivation for the day ahead.
Now this isn’t going to be a post about babies and sleep because quite frankly, after 9 months in, I have slowly learned that babies are unpredictable little people who may sleep through for four blissful months and lull you into a false sense of security and then decide that rolling around your bed at three o’clock in the morning is hilarious fun. But needless to say I have learnt important lessons during those nocturnal wakings – sleep is invaluable. Everyone needs and deserves the best night’s sleep possible and the quality of sleep is just as important regardless of how long you get before you hear your little one stirring…again!
So now, nine months in, I have been making a conscious effort to make sure I set myself up for the best sleep possible as I head to bed, in trepidation, not knowing whether it will four, five, six or even eight hours until I am up again. So here are my top tips to prepare body and mind for a blissful sleep…
1. Sleep spray. This is something I have been using for a few years now and is all part of my routine before I go to bed. A few spritzes of L’Occitane Pillow Mist and my bedroom is transformed into a lavender filled haven which helps relax me and promotes good sleep.
2. Revamp your bed. This is something I hadn’t really considered as a factor to a good night’s sleep but since we gave our old mattress the heave-ho and started sleeping on our new Drift mattress (which does actually feel like you are snoozing on a cloud!), my sleep has definitely improved. You do spend about a third of your life lying on your mattress and I think they say you should switch it every eight years, so we were definitely due an upgrade! What I love about this new mattress is just how damn comfy it is – it has over 4000 pocket springs and has a natural sleep surface of wool (handmade from Yorkshire sheep no less!) allowing air to circulate. They offer a 100 night sleep trial and the mattress arrives all rolled up like a massive punch bag so lugging it upstairs is pretty easy. Rob and I may have actually bounced on the bed when it first arrived!
3. Digital detox. We are all guilty of sitting on our phones, typing away on our laptops and watching the latest Bushtucker Trial right up to the point of going to bed. And then once we are all snuggled up under the duvet, there is that one last check of all social media channels to ensure nothing has happened in the time it has taken for you to brush your teeth! All this overstimulates your brain right when you should be winding down. I now try to resist the urge of checking my phone once in bed and put down the laptop a good hour before I go to bed. I also found turning down the screen brightness on my iPhone has helped.
4. Say no to caffeine. This is a hard one for me as I drink tea by the bucket-load but restricting your caffeine intake during the evening will help you settle more easily at night. If you like herbal or fruit teas then try one of those instead to wind down in the evenings but I am not a fan so opt for a decaf Earl Grey if I fancy a hot drink.
5. Make a list. I am an obsessive list maker. Whenever I go to bed my mind starts racing with things I need to do, things I need to buy for Florence, emails I need to respond to, blog posts I want to write. Everything! If I don’t write it all down then I can be up for hours worrying and thinking about things. Therefore I always have a notepad and pencil in my bedside table so I can jot things down and let my mind switch off as I drift off.
6. Bath before bed. Being a mum of an active baby who is into everything mildly hazardous in the house means I don’t tend to get the chance to have a relaxing shower or bath in the mornings. Therefore I ensure that part of my bedtime routine features a hot bath or shower before bed. Studies show that the rise in your body temperature during a long soak and then the cooling down period afterwards slowly relaxes you.
7. Keep your feet warm. This might just be me but my feet are always cold and sometimes I can wake up or struggle to fall asleep if my tootsies are chilly. Therefore, especially now it is getting frosty at night, I take a hot water bottle up with me to warm my toes and always whack on a pair of cashmere socks. What a granny! But seriously, warm toasty feet equal a lovely, cosy sleep.
8. Exercise. Stepping out the house or office everyday, working up a bit of a sweat and exposing yourself to all that lovely daylight will really help you sleep better at night. I ensure I go out everyday for at least an hour’s walk with Florence. The fresh air and stimulation helps me keep alert during the day (especially crucial if we’ve had a rough night) but then at night I feel genuinely tired and less stressed which all aids the quality of sleep.
9. Get an early night! Possibly the most obvious tip but one that I consistently overlook. Trying to give your body a routine and going to bed at the same early(ish) time every night will help regulate your sleep. Seizing a few additional hours sleep in favour of another episode of your latest Netflix binge will be gratefully received at that 2am wake up call!
10. Please take some of these points with a pinch of salt. I am a mum to a little baby who has most definitely been scrolling through Instagram at 3 o’clock in the morning and more than often has retired to bed with tea and chocolate! Call the caffeine police! I like to stay up too late watching weird documentaries and some days don’t even get the chance to shower! But if you do struggle with sleep then hopefully one or two of my tips will help you get a more rested night going forward. Sweet dreams!
*this post has been sponsored by Drift Sleep