Ahh. Shleep. There’s nothing more satisfying than plonking your face on your pillow at 11pm and falling asleep within minutes, only to wake up 8 hours later, feeling totally refreshed and ready for the day. After months of battling with on/off insomnia in my early twenties (at a time when my anxiety was off the charts) I developed some really amazing techniques for nodding off with more ease than I could have ever imagined.
1. Pamper Yourself
Sounds obvious, but my god does it work! Clean sheets, a tidy room, dim lighting, candles, incense and calming music. These were a nightly ritual for me all through Uni during times of stress, or when my body clock was totally fucked from going out too much. I needed my safe, zen space. Pamper yourself, have a bath before bed, put on a face mask and your cosiest PJ’s.
2. Take A Good Quality Magnesium Supplement
If you follow me on Insta you’ll probably have heard me bang on about the ridiculously incredible benefits of taking a magnesium supplement. Not only does magnesium help you drift off to sleep like a new born baby, it’s also known for it’s super calming properties and anti-anxiety effects. Overthinking, worrying and irrational fears were some of the reasons I found it so hard to fall asleep. Treating your anxiety at the root cause (which is very often due to a magnesium deficiency) could be the incredibly simple answer to all of your problems.
3. Lavender Errythang
Ahh. Another God-send. Psychologists at Wesleyan University asked 31 men and women to sniff lavender essential oil before bedtime. The researchers monitored their sleep cycles with brain scans. Evidence showed that the subjects slept more soundly, and that they also felt more energetic the next morning. You can use pure lavender essential oil by sprinkling a few drops on a piece of tissue and tuck it under your pillow or in your pre-bedtime pampering bath, or you could use an aromatherapy diffuser. Alternatively, I absolutely love the ‘This Works Lavender Pillow Spray’ and it’s super affordable.
4. Guided Meditation
Usually when I bring up meditation, people stare blankly at me and say ‘Ah It’s just not really for me, I find it too difficult because my mind goes at 100mph and I just can’t seem to shut it up.’ But they really are missing the point. Meditation is an amazing way of sitting calmly with your thoughts, letting them drift by, not judging them, not allowing them to take over. Just watching them as they come and go. The fear that used to keep me awake at night was the thought of dying, and I would obsess over all the ways I could potentially pop my clogs. My mind would race as I tossed and turned whilst trying to fight off my fears. My body would be filled will adrenaline and i’d find myself panting and sitting up right, clinging to my pillow with a racing heard at 3am. Calming music and deep breaths were a life saver for me. Click here to see my absolute favourite YouTube video that I love love love to listen to at night (This is my best kept secret, if it doesn’t make you feel incredible then I don’t know what will!)
Otherwise known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
“Our negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system”
EFT works to clear these disruptions and calm you down, dealing with your emotional response (usually stress and worry) to make you feel all floaty and great, and it can also helps with relief from physical discomfort. My boyfriend is the least ‘hocus pocus’ person you’ll ever meet but he uses this technique every time he has a migraine and it works wonders.
The method looks a little crazy, and when you first try it you’re going to feel like a right wally. You tap on certain parts of your face, head and chest whilst talking over the specific problem you’re experiencing – for example, anxiety or insomnia. Brad Yates (who is now like the Uncle I’ve never met) is an absolute hero from Youtube and he has made countless videos on all sorts of different issues. His video for a good night’s sleep can be accessed here. If you think it sounds like bullshit, fair enough because it looks well weird, but give it a try… because I’m telling you – It really, really works!
6. Less Caffeine/Sugar
I’ve actually cut coffee out of my life completely because I can’t stand the edgy, shaky feeling it gives me. I used to drink around 4 coffees a day when I worked a 9-5 job because I genuinely felt as though I couldn’t get through the day without it, but what’s worse – I couldn’t sleep either. I’d have my last coffee around 4pm and i’d be awake until at least 2:30am wide eyed and bushy tailed. Even English breakfast tea contains caffeine, so opt for camomile tea before bed as it’s super calming and eases anxiety.
Sugar before bed is a massive no no if I want a decent, nightmare-free sleep. The weirdest experience I ever had was one night when I randomly had a McDonald’s burger and McFlurry at midnight, totally sober (I know). I woke up a few hours later in a cold sweat, my heart was racing and I thought that the picture on my bedroom wall was moving. It was WEIRD. Blood sugar spikes can wreak havoc on your body, and a sugar crash right before bed can result in increased anxiety and feelings of depression – not what you need when you’re after a good night’s sleep.
Hoping these tips can help you, let me know if you have anything to add! 🙂