Sleep. We all need it, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it. Whether you’re partial to a late-night Netflix binge, struggle to switch off from social media, or live with tiny people who don’t understand the concept of sleeping through the night, getting a full night of restful sleep can be the stuff of daydreams.
“My husband feels refreshed after six hours of sleep, but I still feel drained after eight! How much sleep do I really need?”
The amount of sleep each of us needs can vary, depending on a number of circumstances. Our age, health and how active we are during the day all play a part in our sleep habits. Not to mention, we’re all unique and so are our individual sleep needs. All that being said though, the average healthy adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Head to bed an hour earlier for a solid week and see if it makes a difference to your energy levels.
“No matter what time I go to bed, I struggle to switch my brain off and end up tossing and turning. What can I do to help tune it out?”
This is one of the biggest issues facing our readers. You do all the right things, go to bed early, but end up fretting over every little thing your brain throws at you. For busy minds, a two-pronged approach is best. Aroma plays a powerful role in relaxation, so invest in a scented candle, oil or pillow spray to get to work on your subconscious. Our favourites are the Neom Scent to Sleep Diffuser and the thisworks Sleep Plus Pillow Spray. Trying some mindfulness exercises can also be incredibly helpful, so it’s well worth having one or two in your arsenal.
“I know certain scents can encourage sleep, but I don’t enjoy the smell of lavender. Do you have any other suggestions for scents I could try?
There are a handful of scents that are particularly conducive to sleep and yes, lavender is the most widely used. As a hardy plant that grows well in many climates, it’s a popular addition to sleep products. However, there are still a few great options if you’re avoiding lavender. Chamomile is a popular choice, but also vanilla, geranium and jasmine.
“My kids have trouble settling down to sleep and wake multiple times before midnight. How can I encourage them to sleep so I can get to bed earlier?”
Why is it that we spend the first decade of our lives fighting sleep, and the rest of our lives trying to get more of it? Routine can play a big part in helping kids to settle to sleep, so try to create a relaxing nightly routine for them. Scent aids relaxation, so a warm bath with lavender and a calming bedtime story can help signal that its sleep time. If that doesn’t do it, the Baby Sleep Pillow Spray by thisworks is sure to send them off to dreamland. With soothing chamomile, lavender and vetiver, it’s suitable from 6 months. For younger babies, a gentle massage with Cowshed Baby Rich Massage Oil will have the same effect.
“I love to catch up on my favourite shows in bed, but I’ve heard it can impact my sleep. Any ideas?”
You’ve heard right, the blue light emitted from your tv, tablet or phone can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which makes it more difficult to drift off to sleep. In fact, it’s recommended to avoid screens for at least an hour before bed. Instead, why not listen to a podcast? Equally entertaining when you feel like you’re not yet ready to surrender to sleep, a good podcast can satisfy your tv cravings without any negative after-effects. For a particularly sleepy podcast, we love Sleep With Me.
“I struggle to wind down after a day at work. How can I create an evening that’s more conducive to sleep?”
Along with the other tips we’ve discussed, such as avoiding screens an hour before bed, you may want to consider taking a long bath on the nights you most struggle to unwind. The heat of a bath can relax your muscles, reduce stress and give your brain a chance to process the day. Make the most of your soak by using sleep-supporting scented bath oil, such as Elemis Sleep Bath and Shower Elixir or Weleda Lavender Relaxing Bath Milk.