So this post is a bit more informative than usual, but it’s something that everyone can relate to. Because, every beauty lover needs their beauty sleep. Sleeping is a subject extremely close to my heart, as it is for a lot of people. After all, it’s one of my favourite activities. But what happens when you are crippled by exhaustion, and night after night, sleep eludes you?
Since I was a teenager, I have suffered from episodes of insomnia, and it sucks. Now, I am nowhere near as bad as I used to be, and the last episode of insomnia I had was around 6 months ago. However, I will probably always be what I like to call; a “sensitive sleeper”. I have to sleep in a complete vacuum, devoid of all light and sound, I suffer from restless legs syndrome from time to time, I have very vivid dreams and I tend to wake up a lot during the night. This, even without insomnia, doesn’t lead to a great quality of sleep.
But, don’t fear, even if you’re a sensitive sleeper like me, it’s still possible to create good habits that will eventually help you get a good nights sleep.
Now, this post isn’t going to tell you how to cure your insomnia (if you have it). It’s just aiming to help you create good sleeping habits. Every time I go through an episode of insomnia, I feel like i’m flooded with helpful advice from friends and family. So the point of this post is to share that advice with anyone who may be struggling at the moment.
Also let me start by saying that these are by no means overnight cures. And, If you do suffer from insomnia and feel like you have tried everything and nothing is helping, I would definitely recommend going to see your doctor.
Avoid Caffeine after 3pm
I used to be a serial tea and coffee drinker. And when I have exams, you can bet your bottom dollar that my inner caffeine addict will come out to play. But no matter how much you love that caffeine hit, and no matter how much you feel like you need it to get you through the rest of the day. Resist the urge.
Drinking coffee disrupts your melatonin, and without getting too sciencey, this is the hormone that controls our sleep schedule. Making it responsible for our quality of sleep. You can read more fun stuff about melatonin here.
So, not only does caffeine make it harder to get off to sleep, but it also messes with your quality of sleep. If you feel like you need a bit of a pick me up, opt for a hot lemon water instead. Trust me, it will soon become one of your favourite afternoon or bedtime drinks.
Screens are not your friend
I know it’s so tempting to go on a Youtube binge, or to scroll through social media when you can’t get to sleep. But this could be destroying your chances of sleep way more than you think.
The blue and white lights of the screens on your phone, laptop and TV actually prevent our brains from releasing melatonin (remember that hormone that controls our sleep schedule?) So basically, when you’re looking at a screen before you go to bed, your body doesn’t actually realise it’s night-time. Which might be why you’re tossing and turning for ages before you can actually get to sleep. Research suggests that the ideal time to switch off those screens is around 1 hour before you’re meant to go to bed. It can be helpful to put your phone into Do Not Disturb mode so that you’re not constantly being bombarded by notifications.
I know it’s hard, believe me I know. But try and read a book instead, or maybe try and create your own personalised night-time ritual to allow for some serious relaxation and de-stressing!
I would definitely recommend Tanya Lewis’ article on The Business Insider UK. She does an experiment where she cuts out screens completely when she has finished work, and the results are really interesting.
Create a Healthy Relationship with your Bedroom
This one was actually suggested to me by my Grandad, and it’s one that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. Nowadays, teenagers and young adults alike, spend a lot of time in their rooms. It’s a stereotype, but it’s pretty accurate. I know that I used to do everything in my room. When I was in high school, as soon as I got home I would go straight to my room and would only resurface for food. But this is so unhealthy.
Your bedroom should be for 3 things only: getting ready for bed, sleeping, and getting ready for the day. That means; no work or studying, no eating, and certainly no Netflix binging, or any other . You can find other rooms in the house for that. And if you can’t, then get out the house!
You should associate your bedroom with going to sleep. Once you have this mindset in place, then as soon as you go into your room at night, your brain will immediately kick into sleep mode!
your bedroom is for sleeping only. Something I struggle to stick to now but did really help at my worst
Take a Look at your Diet
Although this one is fairly obvious, I feel like it still needs to be said. Aside from caffeine, there are tonnes of foods and drinks that can affect the quality of your sleep. The worst offenders for me are chocolate and alcohol, it’s always the tastiest things that hurt you the most right?
Chocolate is a killer because not only is it incredibly sugary, but it also contains caffeine (refer to point 1). But alcohol is a bit sneakier. Whenever I drink, which is far too often, I always fall to sleep in minutes. Then I sleep like a baby until about 3am, when I wake up. This happens without fail every time I consume alcohol. Not that it stops me from drinking, but the more you know right?
Although alcohol is a really common form of self medication among those who struggle to sleep, it’s actually doing more harm than good. This is because, as the effects of the alcohol wear off, you move from Deep Sleep into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake up from.
Buy Some Earplugs or an Eye Mask
If you’re a sensitive sleeper like me, earplugs and an eye mask are essential products. My favourite earplugs are the wax ear mufflers that you can buy in Boots. I wear these every night without fail because they block out so much sound. Just make sure your alarms are loud enough or you might oversleep! These are also fantastic for long-haul flights if you want to get to sleep. I think we all know how noisy planes can be.
Eye masks are not something I use every night, but they can be super handy when travelling. Sometimes, you just don’t know how good the quality of the curtains or blinds will be. That may be the lamest thing I have ever said, but I absolutely stand by. There is nothing worse than waking up at 5am because you’re being blinded by the sun.
Do some exercise
I always used to hate when people would tell me this, because it’s so obvious, and also because I hate exercise. But, there is a method in the madness. When you exercise, you tire out your body, making you more likely to go to sleep.
Create your own Nightly Routine
This is the fun part, trust me. By creating a nighttime routine that you stick to every night before you go to bed, the idea is that your body will be kicked into sleeping mode. Also, it’s a great excuse to pamper yourself every night! So, have a bath, light a candle, put on a face mask. Do whatever you have to do to chill out. Trust me it works, because, the more relaxed you are, the better you will sleep!
So let me know your tips and tricks for getting a better beauty sleep down in the comments! I know this post was a bit more serious than usual, but it was so interesting to write, so let me know if you enjoyed by hitting the like button!
Also, if anyone is struggling with any of the sleeping problems that I mentioned in this post, then feel free to message me on any of my social media and I will try to help you in any way that I can 🙂