Everyone knows how important a good night's sleep is but unfortunately for many, it isn’t as simple as just getting into bed and nodding off.
Sleep is just as crucial for our health and wellbeing as oxygen and water, but the trials and tribulations of modern life can make it almost impossible for most of us to achieve a full night of quality sleep. Whether it’s worrying about the cost-of-living crisis or stressing about work, you’re not alone. According to The Sleep Charity, 40% of people in the UK suffer with sleep issues and don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours per night.
Never fear. Help is at hand from Claire Logan of boutique bath, body and home fragrance brand, ARRAN Sense of Scotland. Here are her top tips on giving your bedtime routine a major makeover to help calm, relax and prepare for that all-important sleep, as well as sleep-busting products to help improve the quality of your ZZZs.
Keep to a Sleep Routine
Routine is a great place to start when you’re trying to improve your sleep. Decide when you want to wake up and work back from there. You should aim for between 7-9 hours a night to boost your circadian rhythm and get a properly restorative sleep.
Try to get up at the same time every day if possible, including weekends. Being consistent with your sleep schedule helps reinforce your body’s sleep / wake cycle. If you don’t fall asleep in around 20 minutes or so, get up and do something to relax yourself rather than getting frustrated, which can be counter-productive. Go back to bed when you feel ready for sleep but try to keep to your scheduled wake-up time.
It’s also important to think about your activities before bed and incorporate these into your sleep routine. Certain activities like high impact exercise, watching TV or learning a new skill, can be mental stimulants, not only keeping you awake for longer but also reducing your sleep quality. Swapping them for something more therapeutic, for instance, restorative yoga, breathing exercises, meditation or reading, sends a signal to the brain that it’s time to wind down and switch off.
Avoid going to bed when hungry or too full as this can affect the quality of your sleep. Limit alcohol and caffeine as the stimulation they provide can take hours to wear off.
Wash the Day Away
Life can be busy so it’s important to destress and relax at the end of every day to improve your sleep. Start your evening routine by washing the day away with a bath or shower – Claire’s advice is to try to make time for a relaxing bath before bed at least once a week. Hot baths may reduce blood pressure and it’s also thought that a sweat from a hot bath can burn as many calories as taking a walk, a brilliant added bonus.
Adding the right products will enhance your bath time experience, so try a detoxifying face mask and heavenly scented bath salts. Soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes to allow the healing and relaxing properties to take effect.
Transform ordinary bathing into a ritual bath, a ceremony to clear toxic energy and let go of anything that isn’t serving you. Use your bath to help set new intentions. Focus on what’s troubling you and add fragrances that will help deal with that. Lavender and Chamomile is great for relaxing while citrus aromas lift spirits and rejuvenate. You can also try writing your troubles down and burning them with a candle, a physical symbol of letting go, before getting into the bath to cleanse and rejuvenate.
Create a Bedroom Sanctuary
One of the absolute best things you can do to reduce stress and promote good sleep is create a space dedicated to relaxation. Making your bedroom strictly a sleep sanctuary is a great way to sleep train your brain. If you don’t have the time or budget for a full refresh, here are some quick, affordable update ideas.
Start by clearing clutter. Less is definitely more when creating a bedroom sanctuary. It’s much easier to fully relax in a space without clutter; a minimalist style is key for engendering a serene and calm environment without over-stimulating the brain. Banish light-emitting electronic devices that are proven to be disruptive to sleep.
Add clean crisp bed linens in classic white for a luxury hotel feel. Channel tranquil vibes when thinking about bathroom décor, neutrals, pale blues and serene greens are known to promote a soothing atmosphere, whilst nature-inspired colours such as earthy browns, soft greys and sage greens give off an organic and calming effect.
One of the easiest things to do is open the window daily to let in some fresh air. You can also try adding air purifying plants to help focus your mind. Easy to care for plants such as succulents are great for adding a touch of colour as well as being decorative and helping create a healthy environment.
Introduce scented candles; a de-stress double whammy of calming fragrance and soft, ambient lighting. Worried about naked flames? Diffusers have the same effect and you can add in mood lighting with fairy lights or a dimmer lamp. You can also try is pillow or linen spray made from organic or natural ingredients. Spritz on bedding, soft furnishings or towels when required. A lavender pillow spray or pulse point oil can help reduce sleep anxiety and improve sleep quality.
Some Sleep Essentials Ideas to Try
Sleep Essentials from ARRAN Sense of Scotland
Lavender has long since been used to aid sleep, whilst spearmint is said to improve memory and balance hormones. Escape to your own island spa with ARRAN’s Glen Iorsa range. It's the perfect fragrance for soothing anxiety and promoting tranquillity.
ARRAN’s Apothecary collection is inspired by the ancient crafts of the alchemist, tried and trusted remedies which act as an antidote to modern living. Try the Apothecary Seaweed & Sage range created with clary sage to promote restful sleep by helping to reduce the effects of stress.
ARRAN Sense of Scotland creates bath, body and home fragrance collections inspired by and proudly made on the Isle of Arran. For three decades the family-run company has created evocative scents from its Home Farm factory, an old dairy farm near historic Brodick Castle. From the freshwater spring to a pinch of seasoned gorse, there’s a bit of Arran in every single product.
images: all courtesy of ARRAN Sense of Scotland
Seaweed has been used for wellbeing and in skin and hair care for thousands of years, but why is it special? What are the potential benefits of adding it to your skincare routine? Read on to find out ...
The skincare experts at ARRAN Sense of Scotland share their knowledge on the beauty benefits of seaweed, as well as picking the best seaweed products from their range.
One of the best sellers from its apothecary range, ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s Seaweed and Sage collection is available across a range of hair and skincare products. Sage and Seaweed soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion are formulated with purifying and mineral-rich seaweed extract as well as sweet-smelling lemon, geranium, and orange for a revitalising start to your day. Seaweed extract is an excellent skin and body care ingredient, it cleanses and detoxifies while also increasing moisture and reducing pigmentation.
Cleansing and detoxing
One benefit of seaweed is that it cleanses and detoxifies naturally. In some forms it can be used as an exfoliant to brighten skin clearing build-up of dirt and bacteria to uncover radiant looking freshness.
The Apothecary Seaweed and Sage Bath and Shower Gel is available at £14.00.
Do you suffer from redness and irritated skin? Opt for skincare products containing seaweed which contains natural anti-inflammatories and is rich in vitamin B to soothe and calm skin.
The Apothecary Seaweed and Sage Hand Wash and Hand Cream is available at £14.00 online: https://arran.com/collections/seaweed-and-sage
Helping balance oil production
Seaweed is thought to cut down the oil film on skin, helping it to naturally balance the production of oil, making it great for acne prone, oily or combination skin types.
The Seaweed and Sage Body Lotion is available online at £14.00.
Fight free radical damage
Seaweed aims to deliver antioxidants to protect against external damage caused in our everyday exposure to external factors such as UV rays and pollution.
The Seaweed and Sage Soap is available at £8.00 online.
Strengthens hair from within
Take advantage of the fruits of the sea ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s seaweed infused products.
The Apothecary Sage and Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner are available at £14.00 each at https://arran.com/collections/seaweed-and-sage
Claire Logan, of ARRAN Sense of Scotland, said: “Being an island, Arran is surrounded by the sea and it’s healing properties, not just the fruits it bears but also the benefits it has for general wellbeing. Reflecting summertime and seaside visits that often ensue, it’s a great time to take a look at the benefits of seaweed for skincare and haircare, uncovering just what’s in this special ingredient that makes it so nourishing. Thanks to its unique combination of wholesome properties - antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and fibre, seaweed is one of our favourite ingredients that goes into our naturally nourishing skin and hair care products.
I did not receive products in exchange for this write-up - I ljust like them!
Many of us have problems with our hair - whether it's lacklustre, skimpy, falling out or just simply doesn't have the - 'oomph!' - that we want. No need to fret though, because Hair Gain says all that could be a thing of the past .... read on for more
Backed by trichologists, Hair Gain hair care range combines the clinically-tested AnaGain™ ingredient . Derived from organic pea shoots, biotin, selenium and zinc all contribute to the maintenance of normal hair. Yes, the pea shoot is small but jolly mighty when it comes to hair loss. Its super powerful phytonutrients are clinically proven to stimulate fuller and thicker hair at the root.
Why does our hair fall out or get thinner as we age? It isn't unusual and happens to lots of people. There are many reasons. It can happen when we are stressed and of course starting to lose our hair makes us more stressed. Bad situation. When stressed, different things happen to our bodies, not just the outward signs that you might be aware of like poor sleep and the familiar frazzled-brain feeling but it can affect your appetite which often has a knock-on effect on our hair health too. Calories, ie energy, are required for new hair follicle growth and if you experience extended periods of inadequate calorie intake, this can make horrid things happen to your hair. If you find yourself eating less, your body starts to conserve calories you eat for vital bodily functions - that's the brain, heart and liver. Not hair growth, that isn't at the top of the list.
Some real life, 'before and after' stories are on site here > Hair Gain
Taking time to de-stress is important for mood, sleep and hair. Try to give yourself an hour every day to unwind and relax. This should help alleviate unnecessary adrenal strain and help keep your hormones balanced. Read a book, have a bath, practise mindfulness or yoga. Sleep can help improve hair health, too. Try to sleep in a cool, dark, well-ventilated room and add warm milk or herbal teas to your bedtime routine to help you relax.
And here's a thing. Did you know, water plays a key role in the health of your hair? Not only does water make up approximately 55% total blood volume, the key fluid for nourished hair; it is also necessary for hair follicles to grow optimally - new proteins can only occur in the presence of well-hydrated cells. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water, experts say at least two litres daily.
Then there's tea or coffee, a different story. Try and keep a check on how much you’re drinking, because too much isn’t good. Tea and coffee act as diuretics and drinking more than three cups daily could be more dehydrating than hydrating. if it's a problem for you, swap your caffeinated cups for herbal teas and non-caffeinated brews.
Hair Gain has lots of useful information about hair health on their site, do take a look. I'm giving some of their lovely goodies a try and will report my findings in a couple of months or so.
Luxurious range of Christmas gifts include beautifully boxed natural face and skin care sets for men and women . Prices from £40.00
Shop the exclusive Dr Jackson’s Gift Sets now at: www.drjacksonskincare.com
ECO BRAND OF THE YEAR 2021 @BEAUTYSHORTLIST
Give the gift of great skin this Christmas with the best selection of luxury skincare gift sets from award-winning brand Dr Jackson’s. Producing natural, scientific and sustainable skincare formulas for your face and body, Dr Jackson’s have launched three Christmas gift sets, offering duos of their best-selling products which include moisturisers and oils, all battling dry, oily and aging skin.
Combining meticulous research with the finest ingredients nature has to offer, Dr Jackson’s products are developed for all skin types.
Gift sets include:
Dr Jackson’s Day Cover £40.00
The ultimate combination for nourished, radiant and glowing skin on-the-go: 01 Day Cream nourishes and delivers a smooth, clear complexion, as well as protecting skin from environmental pollutants; 03 Everyday Oil, for moisturising and calming the skin every day, everywhere.
For All Skin Types. Vegan and Cruelty-Free.
Dr Jackson’s Day into Evening Set £60.00
The perfect duo to keep skin hydrated day and night: 01 Day Cream delivers a smooth, clear complexion and protects skin from environmental pollutants and the 02 Night Cream deeply hydrates and helps reverse the signs of ageing, reducing fine lines in your sleep.
For All Skin Types. Vegan and Cruelty-Free.
Dr Jackson’s Night Cap - £40.00
A powerful combination of botanicals to moisturise and regenerate skin while you sleep or on-the-go: 02 Night Cream deeply hydrates and helps reverse the signs of ageing reducing fine lines in your sleep; 03 Everyday Oil, for moisturising and calming the skin every day, everywhere.
For All Skin Types. Vegan and Cruelty-Free.
More on Dr Jackson's Skincare here image (c) Dr Jackson's skincare
Fascinated by native plants and their use in traditional medicine, Dr. Simon Jackson travelled the world seeking out innovative and ethical natural ingredients. This science-led brand not only produces fabulous skincare, they also sell herbal teas.
Dr Jackson's Skincare
Vegan, sustainable, non-toxic, all-natural and - here's the most important bit for me - not tested on animals. Besides that, this company avoids plastics as much as possible and use only recyclable boxes.
Products are packaged in lovely minimalist, lab-inspired bottles and jars. The company decided from the start that beauty products should be clean, safe and of course effective, so to this end, their meticulously researched products use the finest natural ingredients and are suitable all skin types.
It is a pleasure to use this cream, it feels so lovely, rich and luxurious. It hydrates, smooths and softens skin while you snooze and is full of botanicals that work in synergy to regenerate dry skin and help diminish fine lines. Kigelia fruit extract helps to firm and even skin tone, baobab seed oil contains vitamins and antioxidants that protect against environmental pollutants and then there's fabulous frankincense, known to calm and soothe the complexion. That leaves the mango seed butter which goes deep into the skin to nourish and helps protect against environmental contaminants.
Suitable for all skin types including very sensitive, dry and combination, it provides long-lasting hydration.
Enriched with 100% natural ingredients including Baobab and Marula oils - oh and did you know that the Baobab fruit contains six times as much vitamin C as an orange? - with extracts of Calendula and Arnica flowers, this delightful oil is rich in antioxidants and acids which improve firmness and elasticity, helps to even skin tone and soothe inflammation. To use, all you do is massage a couple of pumps into your skin.
Remember, it's always best when trying new ingredients to do a patch test first.
Day cream/ Moisturiser
I love this lightweight moisturiser that keeps skin hydrated throughout the day. This nourishing formula is packed with nutrient-rich botanicals that work in synergy to deeply moisturise, regenerate and smooth the appearance of fine lines. It is suitable for all skin types, whether yours is sensitive like mine, or dry and combination, it provides all-day hydration for those who prefer an everyday moisturiser without SPF.
Dr Jackson was a melanoma specialist during his time at King's College Department of Dermatology where he researched ingredients that had special healing properties for the skin. This is why his skincare products are based on the principles of pharmacognosy: the study of natural medicines derived from plants and their traditional uses. Makes sense then, that the products bearing his name care for skin in a natural, effective way and are beneficial for sensitive and problem skins.
Click here to read about Dr Jackson's Christmas Gift Sets
Formulations are free from parabens, sulphates, artificial fragrances or synthetic ingredients that are not kind to your skin. Natural ingredients are sustainably harvested in collaboration with rural communities worldwide, nothing used is rare or endangered. See DrJacksonskincare.com for more
During Dr Jackson’s academic career, he held research positions at King’s College, University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Even more influential though was his time spent learning from tribal communities around the world, where he learned under knowledgeable shamans and healers in the Amazon, Indonesia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
I have to admit it. In my quest for really good skincare products that don't cost the earth, I hadn't happened upon Hada Labo products. The Japanese brand isn't so widely known across here, but that may well change soon.
All Hada Labo products are fragrance free so are suitable for most skin types. Fragrance is the main cause of adverse skin reactions.
I was sent two of their products to test, a pot of the Repair Night Cream, which contains four different kinds of Hyaluronic Acid and the Eye and Mouth Area Cream. They are both super light and a pleasure to use. All of their products are formulated specifically to replenish dry skin by promoting moisture retention and are suitable for every age group.
Hada Labo isn't Japan's number one skincare brand for nothing. Oh and in case you're interested, the brand’s name is inspired by its roots in creating original formulas: in Japanese, Hada means skin and Labo stands for laboratory. I understand that the company were not allowed to sell the original formula here in the UK because of EU regulations, however now that we are no longer part of the EU, that may change. Some users felt that these 'amended' versions are not up to the original Japanese equivalents. You can order the Japanese products here but it's worth mentioning that the packaging is in Japanese.
Available at Superdrug and Amazon.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist /author of 13 books. Credits incl: Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, CNN, BBC mags, The Scotsman, Daily Express, Country & Town House, Metro, Countryfile, Tatler, trade & consumer cruise titles etc.