When I was in my teens, sleep was never high on my agenda – there was just wayyyy to much to do and see. But as I’ve grown up a bit I’ve come to understand that above all else, getting enough sleep, and good quality sleep, is the difference between a fantastic day and a rubbish one. When I first transitioned into working for myself, my sleep was awful as I worried about clients and poor time management had me working late at night or waking at 3am. This is pretty standard when you’re doing something new, but over time it wore me down and took a toll on my creativity – and ability to think clearly! Hopefully it’s not a sign of just how old I’m getting, but these days I subscribe to a fairly strict sleeping routine, and I have to say it’s completely changed my life. Yep, I said it. It’s given me enthusiasm and creativity that I just didn’t have when I was strung out from not enough sleep.
Recently, the lovely sleepwear company Papinelle asked me to shed a bit of light on my sleep routine, so I thought I would share it with you guys too. In many ways, this sleep routine goes hand in hand with becoming a morning person, and I guess both are a reflection of a (somewhat new) focus on wellbeing and relaxation that has become important as working long hours and constantly being ‘on’ has takes it’s toll. Read on to learn how to create your own sleep routine.
How To: Sleep Better At Night
Perfect Your Space
Take an afternoon out to perfect your sleeping space – although it might sound trivial, a comfy bed with soft sheets, and a nice dark room is the foundation for a perfect night’s sleep. You’ll also want to check the temp, you don’t want it too hot as your body’s temperature needs to fall in order for you to get to sleep. The best temperates are apparently 18 – 23C (65° and 75°), so pick up a fan (or a heater) if yours doesn’t cut the mustard. If you’re looking for room inspiration make sure to check out my Pinterest board here (prepare to be envious).
Choose the right clothes
Although it’s unlikely anyone is going to judge your sleeping attire for chic-ness, fabrics and cuts are important while you sleep as they definitely contribute to overall comfort. Unless you’re someone who can’t bear to wear clothes in bed, you’re going to want to wear something soft, light and loose – I’m all about a soft cotton singlet (like this Papinelle one – and sans bra naturally), a pair of soft shorts or flannels and socks if it’s cold. A nice breathable eye mask is also great for shutting out light without causing you to sweat. And you know what, this might sound vain, but it helps if it looks gorgeous too, right?
In the past, I always used to exercise at night, often quite late if a class was scheduled at that time. The result? I would finish my class at 9 and be unable to sleep until midnight – apparently exercise stimulates hormones which make you alert rather than calm, and didn’t I know it? These days, I try to stop exercising 4 hours before bed – even better I try to do it in the morning so the evenings are dedicated to relaxing and winding down.
Read a good book
Ever lie in bed at night with all your to do lists and thoughts just tumbling around in your head? Been there, done that. Before long you’re looking at the clock outing just how many hours sleep you’re going to get! A good book will cure that, allowing you bit of escapism into someone else’s life (and to forget your own) before you go to sleep. Whatever you do, don’t swap out your book for a little scroll on Instagram, as this will have the opposite effect!
Ok so you’re probably sick of me talking about my ‘no screens between 8pm and 8am‘ rule, but honestly I can’t recommend it enough. You don’t realise how much brainspace devices take up until you take a little time off, not to mention that light signals to your brain that it’s time to get up, making it so much harder to snooze! You also don’t want to check your email or other accounts and think about the next day’s work right before you go to sleep, so putting a ban in place will help you with that too. If you can, leave your phone in another room overnight so you can completely disconnect.
A cup of camomile tea while watching tv has become a mainstay of my routine, and I think it has truly helped me to drift off more easily. I used to take over an hour to get to sleep when I lay down, and now it’s more like 15 minutes after I’ve read a little. I also cut out any caffeine drinks after 3pm – something I used to laugh at my 90 year old grandfather for doing but yeah, now him and I are in the same boat.
Have you got any other sleep routine tips for me? Cheers to feeling refreshed in the morning!
Ollie loves to sleep too! 😉
I’m all about an eye mask. How sweet is this Liberty print?
Photos by Michelle Proctor
This post is in collaboration with Papinelle