Getting a good night's sleep could be easier than you think.

Sleep. Some of us get loads. Others struggle. Before I had children I slept so well. I used to lie in bed at the weekend until 11am. Since I had children the first couple of years were wiped out with relatively sleepless nights due to teething, routine and worry. I never realised the worry that comes with being a parent. It even gets you when you try and sleep!

I was sent a special pack of goodies and asked to follow ten top tips to help me get a better night's sleep. Included in the pack was some lavender oil, a yoga mat, a lumie body clock and a notebook.  I set to work following the tips and seeing how I got on. The sleep tips came from Dr Lauren Kita, an expert in good sleep.

First up, I needed a routine. This makes sense. My children have a routine and they sleep well, so why didn't I? I wake at the same time every morning (unless we have B&B guests who want breakfast particularly early), but it's pretty rare that I go to bed at the same time as the evenings are when I blog and that can take longer than I imagine it will. I made sure I went up to bed at the same time every night.

Next up I needed to get morning daylight. This is because our internal body clock apparently needs to be reset as its natural cycle is slightly longer than a 24 hour day. For this I needed to use the lumie body clock. I was very sceptical that this would actually wake me up in the morning. It has a light which starts off very dim and gradually gets brighter, like the sun rising every morning. You can set an audible alarm on it, but I chose not to. I was absolutely amazed that it managed to wake me up at the same time every day. It's very strange, but also really nice to be woken up without an alarm. I have found that on the days I use the clock, I feel more awake. I think it's due to being woken up slowly, rather than very quickly with an alarm.


The next tip was to avoid bright light in the evening. This one has proven slightly more difficult as our kitchen light is florescent and if we turn it off it's too dark. I have tried to make sure that I don't use my phone or the ipad in bed. Sometimes this is harder than I imagine. I have been reading in the evenings too which is a very nice way to wind down.

Making my bedroom a sleep nest was easy. I don't work on my computer up there and it is a place I go to relax, so I was already winning on that tip. We don't have blackout curtains, but they are very dark which helps with keeping the room dark. Had I wanted some blackout curtains, I could have checked out Hillary's website. I was encouraged to place a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow to soothe your mind. However, I am allergic to lavender, so I haven't done this as it wouldn't soothe my mind, but it would make me itch all over and sneeze lots!

The next tip was to find healthy ways of winding-down. Making sure that I didn't turn to alcohol or TV to relax or wind down. I was encouraged to do yoga in the evening. Sadly the yoga DVD I bought was rather high intensity, so it didn't quite have the desired effect. Instead I have been stretching and chilling out, which seems to be working well.

I listened to Radio 2 the other day and they were discussing mindfulness, which was really interesting, because this was my next tip. I am incredibly bad at switching off. At getting my brain to slow down and stop racing away. Mindfulness is the ability to realise that thoughts are just thoughts, and it helps you to develop a more detached relationship with them. I have found this really useful and definitely something I now do not just at bedtime, but whenever I find myself feeling overwhelmed.

Writing a journal before bed is another way to help your mind relax. This is probably the one tip I haven't done very often, largely due to time. However, I see why writing down your thoughts and worries would be useful, along with anything you need to remember for the next day. I need to try harder at this one!

Don't nap in the daytime. This one is simple. As if I would have time to have a nap in the middle of the day!

The next tip was to reduce stimulants such as caffeine and sugar. I stopped drinking caffeine nearly two years ago now and have noticed a huge difference. I very occasionally have a cup of 'normal' tea, but mostly it is just decaf tea. I probably should also cut down on sugar too. I have been doing my best to cut out refined sugar and I don't snack on cakes or biscuits any more.

Do things that energise you! Well, I run a busy Bed and Breakfast and very rarely stop during the day. I walk over 10,000 steps a day and do lots of cleaning and changing beds, so I am pretty sure I am well energised.

The tips have definitely helped me and the thing I have found the most beneficial is the lumie body clock. It is so nice being woken up gently every morning. I have found that I feel more rested and generally more energetic during the day.

If you want to have a look at the top ten tips, you can do so here.


Disclosure: I was sent the sleep pack for the purpose of this post. This had no impact on my post, which is honest and fair.

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