We are passionate ambassadors for a good night’s sleep and that’s not just a catchy slogan, we mean it. We believe that in order to sleep well, you need to live well and to do that you need to allow time for yourself. Often we can feel guilty if we make time for ourselves. After all we’re far too busy right? I mean we have things to do, businesses to run, goals to kick or children to raise. But when we make the conscious decision to be kind to ourselves and allow more time to do the things that we enjoy, then we can often feel lighter, happier and more able to cope with everything that life throws our way.
This year more than ever Jo and I have been inspired to step back, switch off and prioritise time for ourselves. We are living in a world that is constantly engaged and this increased level of engagement can take its toll on your mood, your perspective and your health. The busy lead up to Christmas is often when stress and anxiety can manifest itself and whilst different for everyone, I’m sure we can all agree that the end of the year can sometimes be a trying time. So we wanted to take a moment to share some of the things that we do to keep our minds and bodies happy and healthy, because when we live well, we sleep well and we are all deserving of that.
First up we wanted to talk about lifestyle, as the way we live will impact the way we sleep. Here are 5 things that we’ve been focusing on this year to improve our lifestyle and sleeping patterns.
We’re not here to preach or to tell you to buy a gym pass, but any kind of regular exercise whether it be light or hard-core is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. There are so many incredible benefits to exercise but what I personally love most is that I just feel good afterwards. I have more energy and I’m ready to take on the world. Here’s the thing though, regularity is key! So it’s important to find something that you enjoy otherwise it will be hard to maintain. Try out a few different things to see what sticks. Choose a time of day that suits you and this is something that differs for everyone. Personally I am a morning exercise person because I know that I will make far too many excuses to not do exercise in the evening. Whereas Jo has to wrangle 2 kids in the morning and then run a business during the day, so she loves heading to an evening yoga class to take the day’s stresses away. We are both big fans of Yoga as you get to work out both your body and your mind. And we both like to go walking (not hiking!) just a casual stroll around the block, with the dog or mates or just an awesome playlist.
This isn’t about creating a boring life for yourself, routine is about creating patterns in your day that help you be more productive and have better time management. When you set a routine for yourself you are building a framework for your day. Try blocking your average day (as it stands right now) into 24 sections, allocating an hour for each section. Identify what times you spending doing Work, Exercise, Free Time, Social/Family time and Sleep. It’s quite an interesting thing to do as you begin to learn more about your daily habits. Then if you feel that you want to change your day to allow more time with your family or more time exercising, move around some sections so that you can craft a daily routine that suits you and your lifestyle. When you have routine that works for you, then this will dictate what time you go to bed and what time you wake up. Establishing these sleep patterns and waking up at the same time each morning will help you fall asleep easier at the same time each night.
Plan Your Week
This is big one. This is something that I used to just not do. At all. Never! And funnily enough, it led to times of stress and anxiety. Don’t get me wrong I had a rough idea of what my week looked like. I was still focused and had goals but they purely revolved around work. I had no plan of what I was going to eat (which led to very inefficient supermarket visits) and no plan of events or dinners that I had to go to (which led to rushed last minute plans). A lack of planning will almost always lead to frustration and stress. Every Sunday I like to write down what’s happening for the upcoming week. I jot it all down: what we’re eating, who we’re visiting, what events we have on and what night’s are reserved for doing absolutely nothing! It’s a simple thing, but if you don’t do this already then I guarantee you this will be a game changer. However it’s important to communicate and discuss your plans with those involved! If you have a partner or family and friends that are part of your plan, talk to them and let them know. Because as it turns out not everyone can read your mind. Who knew?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation where you focus on being acutely aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment and to do so without interpretation or judgement. This usually involves breathing methods and guided imagery to help you relax your body and mind. Now this is easier said than done, especially if you’re doing it on your own and not in a room filled with yogis. However there are some really great apps available that take you through mindfulness sessions. Try The Mindfulness App, Headspace or Calm which is specific to helping you sleep. If you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious during the week, then trying out these apps would be a really good option. Mindfulness will help to relax and quieten your mind, so even just doing five minutes before bed may help you fall asleep easier.
Be Kind To Yourself
When we focus on living well it can sometimes result in us placing pressure on ourselves. The word ‘should’ can come up a lot. I should have exercised more this week or I should not have ordered Uber Eats three nights in a row or I should not have drunk so much of that yummy Pinot (can you tell I’m speaking from personal experience here?!) If you catch yourself doing this, just acknowledge it and move on. There is no point in being mean to yourself, after all nobody’s perfect and often the only person that is disappointed is you – so take that feeling away because you are awesome!
Now, let’s talk about your environment and how to create a space that encourages a good night’s sleep. For our latest Classics Bedlinen collection I was inspired by the desire to switch off! I was stuck inside my own head and felt stressed, busy and worried (we’ve all been there)! So I chose to simplify things and create the bedroom that I most needed in my life. One that represented a calm environment to stop and switch off.
Create Your Dream Bedroom
Declutter. Take a good look at your bedroom and ask yourself if you need everything in that room. Mess can often lead to stress, so the more we can remove unnecessary items the less we have to worry about.
Colour Therapy. Colours can influence your mood. Blue and Green hues are calming colours and will help create a sense of tranquility. Think about bringing in some artwork with these colours. Alternatively neutral tones are a great option as well.
Plants. Having plants in your bedroom is always a great idea. Not only do they look beautiful, they help to purify the air and it has been said that having plants in your home (or office) can actually reduce stress levels! If you don’t have room for a large pot plant, try putting some clippings into a small tumbler or vase to place on a small corner or shelf.
Sleep Well. Just think about how much time you spend in bed, so it’s important to make sure that you are comfortable. That starts from the ground up. Make sure you have a good quality bed frame, choose a mattress and pillows that best suit your body and use high quality bedlinen. Our signature Hunting for George premium cotton bedlinen is incredibly soft and made from 100% Pure Cotton Sateen with 400 Thread Count. Our Classics collection are all designed to style together and will stand the test of time!
Set the Mood
Sensory. Introducing scents either through oil burners, candles or room sprays can help to counteract stress and calm your mind. Some of the most popular essential oils to encourage sleep are Lavender, Vetiver, Bergamot, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Roman Chamomile. You can either rub a small drop on the back of your neck or shoulders. Alternatively you could diffuse the scent in an oil burner or volcanic rocks.
Music. I think we can all agree that music can have a big impact on your mood. If I am struggling to get to sleep then I’ll listen to music, usually classical, as it helps to calm my mind. I’ve put together a very chill, peaceful sleepy time playlist that is great to listen to not only when you need to sleep, but anytime you need to chill out. Enjoy!
We wanted to finish off by chatting about Mental Health which can often be an underlying factor contributing to poor or disrupted sleep. Mental health is no longer a dirty word. There is a lot more awareness out there about anxiety and depression because more and more people are open to talking about it and sharing their stories. Jo and I have witnessed plenty of anxiety in our lives, both having seen it affect people close to us and also having experienced varying forms of anxiety ourselves. Personally I have been dealing with anxiety since my early twenties. From speaking about it with those closest to me and through talking with a psychologist I learnt to better understand my anxiety. What it is, how to spot it and how to cope with it. Once you have more knowledge and awareness of what is going on, you are far better equiped to deal with it.
If you think that perhaps something is not as it should be, please know that you are not alone. Many people experience different forms of mental health and the most important thing to do is talk about it. Chat with your friends, partner or family and when you’re ready then there is plenty of support out there if you need it. You might want to start by visiting your local GP who will be able to recommend you to a specialist. There are also some wonderful organisations out there that can help. Beyond Blue are terrific and they have a range of contact points and information on anxiety and depression on their website.
We hope that you’ve found this guide to a better night’s sleep helpful. Sweet dreams x