Preparing for Sleep
(Thank you for the beautiful photos Elena @consumerista.ru)
I really do talk about sleep a lot. Between formulating the Sleep Series, working with patients for whom sleep is a treat and my endless pursuit to showcase the importance of quality sleep for the skin, it’s become a daily topic at the farm. We can get into the detail of the relationship between sleep and skin and the reasons why we don’t sleep another time, today I want to try and answer one of my most commonly asked questions - How do you lay the path for a good night’s sleep?
Here’s a toolkit of tips and ideas, suggestions that may be brand new to you and some that are subtle tweaks to existing habits or routines, but they could make a world of difference…
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary.
Setting the scene for sleep is so important – think ambient lighting, a comfy and inviting bed and remove any potential triggers for switching your brain back on as it starts to slow down. Smell plays a huge role in your ability to relax so a few drops of your favourite, sedative oil on the pillow will work wonders. Keep the temperature at about 18 degrees if you can; this is widely considered an optimum temperature range for a comfortable sleep.
Turn it all off.
Whilst I am ‘online’ a lot of the time, when it’s time to shut down for the day I turn it all off. Our phones are literally designed to be addictive and keep us awake, no amount of screen dimming will prevent our brains from staying alert to all the things our phones have to say. The same goes for TV’s, iPads… screens are a stimulus that will inhibit our ability to fall asleep (and stay that way).
‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’ - Virginia Woolf.
Be mindful of the food and drink you consume before bedtime and at what time you have it. Try and avoid foods to heavy in sugar or saturated fats and allow your body time to digest the meal before starting your bedtime routine.
Write it down.
Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down and thoughts (good or bad) and anything you need to do, so you don’t stay awake worrying and can rest in the knowledge they will be there for you to action tomorrow morning.
Think happy thoughts.
The Sleep Council suggests focusing your mind on positive thoughts and memories as you close your eyes, as studies have shown this will promote quality sleep and happy dreams. It seems pretty obvious I know but we so often talk of clearing the mind, perhaps filling it with happy, comforting thoughts will have the same sedative effect.
If you have a little extra time…
Try having a warm bath to raise your body temperature. Then as your body tries to cool down, it will in turn make you sleepy. It's also as excuse to light candles, put a mask on and listen to something delightfully soothing so I am always an advocate for the pre-bed bath.
Take five minutes just to be with your thoughts whilst you enjoy a warm (caffeine free) drink.
Try meditating or a relaxation technique for 10 minutes or so once you’ve settled into bed. Just resting your hands on your stomach and taking slow, deep breathes will help you to relax.
Depending on where I am in the world, how much time I have and the day I’m winding down from I use all or some of the above coupled with one of the Sleep Series blends to settle down for the night. Do you have any other suggestions that work for you? I’d love to hear (and try) them.