This is a slightly different blog post to usual but, here goes.
Stress, anxiety, busy brain, decisions and many other things can stop you from having a good night's sleep. Sometimes we all struggle to get to sleep. Often, the worst thing about not being able to get to sleep is the distress you feel and it worsens your ability to sleep. I've suffered from a lot of these types of nights and I've built up a fairly solid way of getting some kip even on some of my worst nights.
First of all, I always have a big glass or bottle of water beside my bed because if I wake up during the night, a sip of water often helps. I also just take a sip of water if I'm not sleeping due to anxiety or stress as it just calms me a little bit and reminds me of reality and physical feeling, which distracts me from the emotional feelings.
Sometimes I can't sleep because I feel really anxious over something. For me, it's definitely very important to avoid triggers. This usually means turning off my phone, coming up with a plan on how to deal with the problem, or reading a book. My anxiety often makes me physically ill and a lack of sleep then worsens my anxiety and it can become an awful cycle for me. When I'm feeling particularly anxious, I pick a favourite book or a new book. This way I escape reality and let the book distract me from how I'm feeling and from overthinking. I believe reading before bed is important but I'm aware that this does not work for everyone as some people just don't like reading. But I would highly recommend at least putting your phone, laptop etc away because science has proven that backlit screens cause sleeping problems and worsen moods so that definitely will not help you sleep.
There are a few products I use to help me sleep and these are the ones that have worked best and are my favourites:
Neom Candle in Tranquillity
This candle smells like dream heaven. It is a really relaxing scent of English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine. There's not much to say about this candle but the scent certainly works to calm me down and put me at ease. It's not a cheap one as it comes in at £16 but I cannot recommend it enough and so far it doesn't burn too quickly. I'm a little disappointed by the smell when you extinguish the candle but I love the actual scent of the candle so much that I can put up with it. (I've recently discovered that this smell is my fault and remedied it by trimming the wick.) For the first couple of days after I purchased it, I left it unburned in my room and that scent lasted and worked just as well as burning the candle.
This Works Breathe In roll on (which I believe has been rebranded into the Stress Less roll on)Again, this scent is amazingly calming and I believe it has a similar lavender scent but it just works to make me fall asleep and I love it so much. I've recently run out so I'm going to have to repurchase. I currently have the 5ml one but I'm going to buy the 10ml and it comes in at £12, which again seems like a lot of money, but I know that it works and it honestly helps me and my health so I'm willing to spend more on that because my health, be it physical or mental, is so very important.
Bach Rescue Night 10ml Dropper
This is a herbal remedy for what my family calls 'busy brain'. It's that feeling when you're attempting to sleep but your brain feels like it's in overdrive and all your thoughts are spinning around in your head. Somehow this dropper always helps me sleep and I use their Rescue Soothing Pastilles before exams or important interviews. It never fails to help me. I'm aware that his could totally be a placebo effect but it works for me nonetheless and I've known it to help everyone in my family and a few of my friends too. For £7.99, it's a bargain in my eyes because it lasts more than a couple of months even though I use it most nights and is so effective for me.
Every night before bed I fill in my Q&A 5-year journal by Potter Style and it helps me sleep because it's part of my bedtime routine. Now, this idea of a bedtime routine is so important to me. In the winter, I use a heated mattress topper of some sort and I turn it on, grab my pjs and head to the bathroom where I clean my teeth and wash my face, applying my skincare products (a skincare routine will be coming soon). I then climb into my nice, toasty bed, fill in my diary, set my alarms and read. Sometimes I do go against my own advice and I watch a film or some YouTube videos. But the majority of the time, I stick to my routine and I've noticed that, if I get to bed earlier on a Monday, I sleep better the rest of the nights of the week because I get into such a routine. I advise you grab yourself a routine that works for you because your body will get used to it.
One other thing that helps is something you perhaps shouldn't do before bed; exercise. I find that my anxiety, stress or 'busy brain' worsens when I've not been as active. A science teacher once taught me that, when your body isn't tired but your brain is, your brain goes into overdrive because it's trying to keep up with your body's energy level. I try to exercise 2-3 times a week and since I've been doing so, I've certainly slept better. Whether it's a few lunges, a walk or a gym session.
I hope that something within this blog post works for you and that you find the things that help you sleep. We all have bad nights sometimes and I'm not promising that these things will necessarily work for you because different things work for different people. Sometimes I will do all these things and still have a bad night's sleep and that is totally normal. But if I know that I've done all I can, I can at least settle my brain on that thought.
My number one tip after all of this, is definitely to try your best not to get annoyed at yourself when you're having one of these nights.
Sleep well tonight,