Sleep Struggles and How to Overcome Them!

I don't know it it's the fact that it's been Christmas or simply because of the pandemic, but since early December, I really struggled to sleep. Throughout the festive season, I got into bad habits. Late nights, constant snacking and watching television in bed, meant that at times I wasn't going to bed until the early hours of the morning. It didn't help that I would then stay up on my screens for hours, and have more snacks in between brushing my teeth and laying down. I would also sneak a glass of Diet Coke, which was terrible! 

The first step was to get rid of bad habits, starting with food and drink. Now that I'm settled back in Nottingham, I don't have food or drink (bar water) in the bedroom. I try to stop eating my 8pm, however this can be difficult with the work I do, as sometimes, I don't actually get home until 8pm and then I have to eat. Obviously, meals out are slightly different, but at the moment we can't do those anyway. 

Similarly, the biggest advice is one that it's so hard for me to do: a "normal sleep routine". Due to my  work pattern, the shifts switch between day and night shifts, which means my sleep schedule is all over the place. I try to be asleep by 11pm when I'm not working nights, but this can still be difficult if in between or after nights. 

I have been trying to go to bed at 10pm, then read for a while before laying down. I've really struggled to turn my mind off and I've fallen into the trap of TikTok. Despite my love for the app, I've deleted it for health sake, because I would end up spending HOURS on it. I used to read for hours before bed instead, and I think it's so much better to read and avoid screens. I've also invested in some blue light glasses in the hopes that helps reduce my headaches too. From now on, I hope to make my bedroom I screen free room. I already don't allow televisions, laptops and tablets in, so by limited phones, I think it should be a great step. 

One of the things I swear by is the This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray. I actually was first introduced to this through my Birchbox subscription box and it's one of the only two products I've re-purchased after using up. It's a light lavender scent, mixed with other scents so it's not super strong, and really helps me switch off. As I now associate the smell with bed, I think it's even better. I spray it every night on my pillow whilst reading and then let it fill the room before laying down. The last time I purchased it, I purchased a duo with a roller as well, which has been really helping with my headaches.

On a similar wavelength, to hep me relax I try to wind down. I have a great night time skincare routine which helps me settle down for the night. When I have a little bit more time, I like to do a face mask, usually my Senegence Moisturising and Detoxifying one. An alternative, and one I often do if my eyes are sore/I have a headache and therefore can't read, I use a Spacemask, which is a heated eye mask I talked more about earlier this month here

Hot water bottles are another great method to help relax with heat and having nice warm feet, always helps me feel more comfortable. A lot of people say that they like having a cold bed to sleep in, but personally I like a warm bed, especially to start with. I am so tempted to buy a heated blanket to almost "pre-warm" my bed, so if you have any experiences of this, or recommendations, let me know! 

Finally, the last thing I've been trying is listening to a sleep playlist on Amazon Music. It's not my favourite thing to do but I have found it helps and it was somewhat inspired by my partner, who uses "boring" Audiobooks instead. I don't like the water playlists, but the modern classical music is amazing. I've also recently learnt that you can set a timer to avoid the music playing all night long. Simply, head to Settings, then Sleep Timer and set it for 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes.

These are the things that I've implemented to help improve my sleep. You can find more from a scientific perspective here, which is also where the image above is from. If you have your own tips, be sure to share them in the comments below!