Firstly before we get into my tips what you ware to bed is so important it deserves a special mention. As night sweats can be a real issue for me I have found that wearing a natural material like Linen, cotton, and wool are optimal choices for those with overheating issues, as they’re more breathable than other synthetic fabrics. Linen is the lightest of the three, so it will feel plenty breezy in bed. PJs made with 100 percent cotton will work to soak up moisture and feel airy and soft.
1 DON’T EAT TOO CLOSE TO BEDTIME
I love a bedtime snack – usually buttered toast. However, this habit isn’t the best it keeps the digestive system working, which can make it hard to get comfortable in bed or even worse, trigger indigestion and heartburn once you lie down. While everyone is different, a good starting point is to try cutting yourself off from eating a few hours before you go to bed.
2. MOVE IN THE DAY, IDEALLY IN FRESH AIR
When you’re tired, sometimes the last thing you want to do is exert yourself. But exercise in the fresh air is a special kind of magic. Think of times you’ve gone for a long walk in the countryside or stood outside for a concert or a game and how tired you were after. The Great Outdoors requires us to exert more energy than being at home and provides us with some Vitamin D, while exposure to sunlight helps our circadian rhythms for when the sun goes down.
3 A WARM DRINK
Warm milk has a folkloric reputation for a reason, although I’d advocate for any caffeine-free warm drink in the hour before bed. For me, it is a cup of chamomile tea with a drop of lavender oil (only add the lavender if you KNOW your oil is 100% pure. The feeling of warmth I get from the hot drink helps me feel calm and settled.
Some studies have linked sleep problems to magnesium deficiency, A great way to replace magnesium is a bath using Epson salts which naturally contain magnesium. While the effectiveness of magnesium cream is up for debate, rubbing it on my feet before bed is soothing. Over time, it starts to act like a ritual with the smell of the cream and rubbing your feet signalling that it is time to start winding down.
5 Essential Oils
Essential Oils are an amazing aid for sleep with of course Lavender being the best known. To help with night sweats try clary sage, peppermint and eucalyptus add to water and spray on chest and back of neck. With the lavender pop a drop on to the sole of each foot, pop a couple drops on your pillow or put in a diffuser. With Essential Oils not all is equal. It is not a standardised industry so pure does not always mean pure. So do your homework. Research the company, look at its farming techniques, its relationship with its growers and most importantly how they prove their oils are pure. I choose a brand that provides certification for purity and that through usage I know have therapeutic benefits (they work). With this mind if you know your oil is pure then add one drop of lavender to a cup of chamomile tea just before bed, yummy and therapeutic. You can also add a couple of drops of your very oil to a nice warm bath I love the combination of Roman Chamomile and Lavender add to Epson salts for added benefits.
I admit it – I have struggled with meditation for years. However, since qualifying as a hypnotherapist I have found something that works for me hypnopoetry which is a combination of meditation and self hypnosis. It works for me as it reduces stress, empties my head and eases me into a gentle sleep. So the tip is to explore and find a technique that works for you.
7 GET UP AND RESET
Often, when you’re lying there begging sleep to come it can seem counterintuitive but if like me it’s the brain that won’t stop those thoughts no matter how trivial just going round and round then It’s okay to hit a reset button. Get up, make a hot drink (make sure it’s caffeine-free), watch something on tv and try again. For me it’s usually an episode of a real housewives.
8 NOISE BLOCKERS
For me as I live in a flat with a neighbour whi seems to have his clock upside down I use ear plugs or sometimes earphones with some soothing music I am a sucker for pan pipes. White noise machines are also an option, and – unsurprisingly – there’s an app for that as well.
9 LIMIT ALCOHOL
I promise I’m not trying to suck all the joy out of your life. I love a glass of wine and I still have my weekend treat I just drink earlier and stop sooner. I find that this way I still get a good nights sleep and I am not groggy in the morning. Everything in moderation
10 WORK OUT YOUR OPTIMAL CAFFEINE CUT-OFF TIME I love my coffee and use to rebel against the no caffeine before bed but as I have matured, I have had to give in. Caffeine, like alcohol, loves to linger in our systems long after its tangible effects have worn off. So I have moderated my routine Coffee before lunch, tea to 6pm then caffeine free herbal teas, I love a nettle tea. Everyone is different though I have two friends that I meet at 10 am for coffee as they can’t take caffeine after 11am