I have wanted to write this post for a long time as sleep has always been a big issue for me, and I know so many others are in the exact same boat. I have had a constant battle with insomnia and was dependent on prescribed sleeping tablets on and off for 4 years- despite being proven to not actually resolve your sleep issues in the long term! However I have finally managed to kick the medication habit and naturally fall asleep (touch wood!) without any tablets or substances.
So what are my top tips you might be thinking? Well I have a variety of solutions that I fall back on, and they might not all be to your taste but hopefully you can find something that will work for you.
ASMR is something I’ve only really connected with lately, and had previously seen it in passing and thought hmmm this is strange?! SHOULD I be watching this?! I apologise if you’re already clued up with ASMR(Autonomous sensory meridian response) but if you’re not then the best way for me to explain it is visual/ sounds such as whispering, hand movements, scratching objects, tapping (everyone has a different trigger), that causes you to get tingles on your skin and feel super relaxed.
After suffering with migraines (being sick, in pain and completely at a loss) and lacking in a good nights sleep I ended up searching for headache help on Youtube (I am very interested in natural therapies and had already tried painkillers namely codeine). I accidentally stumbled across this ASMR video and my interest was immediately sparked when I felt like my pain was actually being alleviated. Every night that followed I would search for a new ASMR video in the hope that it would help after being so positive for my physical problems, and it truly did. It never fails to relax me, give me tingles and before the end of a video I can barely keep my eyes open. Now that’s not to say I stay asleep throughout the night after simply watching one, but it relaxes me enough to actually send me to sleep which really feels like a miracle. I forget about all my worries and completely immerse myself into the video.
Meditation is something I’ve tried to stick with in the day time which may be more suitable for some of you, particularly if you’re just trying to de-stress and relax, however for me I always found myself getting too tired and starting using it as a sleep tool. For me personally I like to use apps to aid my meditation as I can just lay in bed with my phone and headphones in. I would recommend: Headspace it’s a really simplistic, straight to the point app that is for people not necessarily already into meditation. You get a ten session pack for free when you download the app (to be used for ten minutes a day), however after that it does cost £9.99 if it does take your fancy and you want to continue with it. I also like Calm it has a variety of free packages such as 21 days of calm and uses nature sounds to help you relax which I really dig, as it helps me focus and properly relax. If you don’t want to use an app then Youtube is also great again I personally like to listen to this Chakra cleansing and guided meditation audio here.
Worry pad/ writing lists
So this isn’t a new or original concept but it’s something that’s really helped with clearing my mind and stop me worrying about all the things I have to do, or things that are upsetting me. If I grab a notebook and write a to do list, or write out all the things on my mind that are upsetting me then it can be cathartic and also allow me to have space in my mind and give me a freedom to feel like I am ‘allowed’ to relax now and can deal with my problems in the morning.
(£4.25 from Etsy here)
Burning candles and incense has been a huge help for me, I get through them quite quickly so I am just buying these 85p vanilla candles from Ikea. This Works is a firm favourite of mine also I highly recommend the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray with Lavender, Vetivert and Camomile, it is SO relaxing! I also think that a hot bubble bath before bed is essential combined with the Deep Sleep Bath Soak.
In the daytime I have a huge reliance on black coffee and cups of tea, so cutting down on the caffeine before the evening and switching to decaff is essential. Instead of having a caffeinated tea before bed I’ve converted to herbal tea and absolutely adore Whittards selection such as Dreamtime ,but I am also a fan of Peppermint as it helps with digestion before bed and calms you down.
Clean, soft sheets with a furry/ knitted blanket is paramount for me. I like to have things that feel and look cosy on my bed as it gets me in the right mindframe for sleep. Once I’m cosy in bed (usually with a hot water bottle) something else I’ve tried is self massage which you can just interpret yourself by focusing on overused and sore parts of your body such as your neck, jaw and shoulders, or you can follow an aided guide like this.
Exercise is so important even if you don’t want to do anything too vigorous but it’s so important that it’s in the daytime and not right before bed if you’re struggling to sleep. When I was into my fitness I would exercise at 8/9 at night and I would feel pumped and alert and wasn’t able to switch off. In the morning it also helps with stress, anxiety and depression as it’s going to boost your endorphines and prepare you for the day. I also like to cut out television, my laptop and upbeat music with headphones before bed as all of these keep my brain going at 100 miles an hour. Instead if I really can’t sleep I will opt for a wordsearch book, colouring or listening to an audiobook quietly.