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
I love Puressentiel products.
This family company with a background in herbalism and naturopathy have collaborated with doctors, pharmacists, scientific researchers and aromatherapy specialists to develop the Puressentiel range.
They sent me their Muscles and Joints Pure Heat Roller and Pure Heat Gel to try and I have to say that they do tick all the boxes.
Recommended for athletes and those suffering from muscle and joint pain, these products are the natural way to help relieve pain or strain. They each contain 14 essential botanical oils with anti inflammatory, anti swelling, analgesic properties. These include chamomile, cloves, eucalyptus, cajuput, wintergreen, juniper, marjoram, peppermint, lavender, limonene, nutmeg, niaouli, Scots pine and rosemary. What a glorious combination!
They are quite strongly scented due to the eucalyptus and menthol, a pleasant smell which helps make you feel relaxed. You only need to use a little of the product which feels cool and tingly on first contact with the skin and becomes warmer so you know it is going to be beneficial!
The heat gel and roller don't leave stains and are non-greasy and non-sticky so making them ideal to use anytime, anywhere.
- made with 100% natural active ingredients
- contain pure and natural essential oils and have no parabens, colourants, GMO, phenoxyethanol or synthetic fragrances
- are not tested on animals
Sold at Boots, Holland & Barrett, Amazon or direct from the company.
CBD is growing in popularity, particularly with those who don't sleep very well or who suffer anxiety, stress or pain.
Research from Alphagreen, Europe’s leading marketplace and technology provider focussing on CBD and other alternative healthcare products, shows that a third of shoppers (33%) buy CBD for pain relief ; 28% for anxiety and 26% to improve sleep.
The Alphagreen Group, brainchild of entrepreneurs Alexej Pikovsky and Viktor Khliupko, was born in London from a passion for health and wellbeing combined with technology and innovation.
A growing number of athletes are drawn to CBD and significantly the world anti-doping agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances in 2017, meaning the Tokyo Olympics was the first to allow athletes to use CBD.
Data from Alphagreen shows that more people are turning to CBD to help ease pain, improve sleep and lessen anxiety. A 2021 survey published in the Journal of Cannabis Research evaluated the reasons for taking it and resulting data found that respondents took CBD mainly for issues related to pain and overall wellbeing. In those aged 55+, 42% were using CBD specifically for arthritic/joint pain.
CBD, anxiety, stress, sleep and pain
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognised that CBD has the potential to help health issues including sleep, insomnia and anxiety. We all need good sleep patterns every night to ensure our bodies heal and have sufficient rest.
Studies over the last 30 years also suggest that CBD might help with mental health issues. In another study published in Nature, anxiety induced by public speaking in people with social anxiety disorder was reduced significantly by CBD. Pre-treatment with CBD significantly reduced cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance within the same study. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort and alert levels when compared with the control group. A further study suggested that CBD reduced the blood pressure response to stress. A 2020 study found that CBD reduced anxiety in people with Parkinson’s disease subjected to a simulated public speaking test. A further study showed that the application of CBD oil (in the form of a cream) to the site of pain has been shown to help people with back pain in a clinical setting.
Say hello to Alphagreen: Shopper’s Choice
Founded in 2019, Alphagreen offers a one-stop shop for trustworthy, effective CBD products in a range of formats, including pure CBD oil, chocolate infused CBD, gummies and flavoured oral strips, capsules, creams, lotions, massage oils and bath products.
The Alphagreen CBD sample kit (£40) is ideal for those new to CBD as well as veterans of the sector. Peach flavoured CBD Gummies with 25mg of CBD in each gummy and 10 gummies in a pack is the perfect sweet treat without the calories. For those looking for inner balance support and a post-workout recovery the same sample kit includes a classic vegan 10% CBD oil with 5mg of CBD in each drop.
Other CBD sample kits containing CBD oil, capsules and moisturising balm are also available from Alphagreen for those who would like to try a variety of CBD products. Check out Alphagreen’s CBD bundle containing CBD Oil, CBD capsules, CBD Lip Balm and CBD gummies, which can be used as part of a daily supplement routine.
All products within the sample Alphagreen kit and across the company’s marketplace are THC free, laboratory tested and produced to the same good manufacturing processes and practices as food supplements and over the counter health products. Ensuring customer safety sits as the heart of the Alphagreen marketplace. ALL products sold across the Alphagreen marketplace are rigorously tested and meet the highest of quality standards.
Alphagreen has enjoyed phenomenal growth since its 2019 UK launch, growing from listing four brands with 50 products to over 200 brands with overe 3,000 products. Alphagreen is expanding into other on trend wellness industries including medical cannabis and nootropics.
The company sent me a sample kit. I have to say, the gummies taste lovely and I'm quite sure they are helping me to sleep better. Do give them a try. I expect you'll be most pleasantly surprised with the positive result!
image (c) Alphagreen
Sleep is essential for all of us. However many people including me often find it hard to fall asleep or
tend to wake up during the night. Now help is at hand, thanks to Swedish based company WellBeMed who have recently launched the fab WellBeSleep® Shots and WellBeSleep® Bar. Products are innovative in format, beautifully packaged and they taste lovely, too.
“We wanted to create healthy, well documented products that can help against lifestyle-related health problems. Both WellBeSleep® products were developed with the aim of becoming part of people’s evening bedtime routines. Using one of nature’s own resources, lemon balm, we were able to create delicious products that help people wind down before bedtime,” says Victoria Lagnevik, WellBeMed MD.
images (c) WellBeMed
WellBeSleep® shots and WellBeSleep® dark chocolate/oat bar all contain lemon balm, a herb used over the centuries for its calming effect. Mixed with hops, this helps create the best possible conditions for falling asleep. The WellBeSleep® Bar is made from oats and oat fibre, also beneficial to your health. It is recommended to eat and drink the WellBeSleep® products thirty minutes before going to sleep. This gives the lemon balm the necessary time to relax your mind and body.
WellBeSleep Apple Beetroot & Ginger Shot
made from Organic apple juice 78%, organic beetroot juice from concentrate 20%, organic ginger juice 1%, lemon balm extract, hops extract.
WellBeSleep Apple Turmeric & Elderflower Shot
made from Organic apple juice 96%, organic turmeric juice 2%, organic elderflower extract, lemon balm extract, hops extract.
WellBeSleep Apple Blueberry Shot
made from Organic apple juice 85%, organic blueberry juice from concentrate 14%, lemon balm extract, hops extract.
All three WellBeSleep shots are organic, suitable for vegans and have no added sugar.
This delish chocolate bar contains dark chocolate 35% (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soy lecithin, aroma), milk protein, oligo fructose syrup, oat fibre, rolled oats, stabiliser: (sorbitol syrup), rapeseed oil, lemon balm extract, extract from vanilla, hops extract.
The company kindly sent me samples to try and I really liked them. Better still, they actually helped me to fall asleep. I therefore recommend them absolutely.
WellBeSleep products are popular throughout Sweden and the company are confident that the products will be just as successful in the UK.
Available via Ocado online RRP £1.99 for WellBeSleep® Shot (60ml) and £1.99 for individual WellBeSleep® Bar (32g).
Follow WellBeSleep UK on Facebook at and Instagram.
It's no wonder the Pinestone Tea team is proud of their product. Not only are the varieties delicious, but they are also made from sustainably grown tea plants and prepared using traditional methods handed down through generations. The company generously sent me a quality green tea presentation box containing three types of teas so that I could try them for myself. It's quite a while since I took the time to make 'proper' tea in a pot, generally opting for teabags instead. Now, presented with these loose-leaf teas, meant it was time to bring the teapot out from where it had been languishing in a cupboard. Preparing tea provides the ideal reason to slow down and relax, something of an awakening for me and something I enjoyed and appreciated.
Pinestone uphold the following values:
• Everyone in the tea supply chain deserves to be treated with respect, paid fairly and afforded good working conditions
• Tea should be ethically sourced and fully traceable
• All Pinestone packaging is recyclable apart from the reusable and resealable inner bags
• Green tea has mental and physical benefits
Wellbeing and Health
Research shows how good green tea is for our mental and physical health. Even the act of brewing these meticulously prepared leaves can bring a sense of mindfulness and calm. Time and care are essential in the brewing process so this is an opportunity to allow yourself peaceful contemplation.
Green tea's health benefits are far reaching. It is high in protective polyphenols which act as antioxidants, amino acids help brain function and some believe that un-sweetened green tea can help with fat burning because of its thermogenic properties.
Did you know that Chinese tea drinking culture is an important aspect of any mealtime? Different teas are best drunk with specific foods, just like fine wines.
Rich and satisfying Chun Mee tea is good for digesting heavy dishes. This hand produced Pinestone tea has a sweet though slightly acidic flavour and is especially good with a main course.
Lung Ching or Dragon Well is a yellowy green coloured delicate all-rounder. It is an extra special tea which must be produced in the traditional, hand-panned style in order to be granted the world-renowned Lung Ching mark. it has a fabulously refreshing taste and is ideal to drink on its own.
Refreshing Jasmine tea is a well known favourite with tea drinkers. It's ideal when eating Dim Sum, light starters and desserts because of its fragrance. It is sweet and smooth and utterly 'yes, I'll have another cup please.' Jasmine is very calming.
And, did you know that tea is also a cooking ingredient in China? Back in the Tang Dynasty people would drink ground tea flavoured with salt and herbs. This type of tea is still common in some parts of China today while sometimes roasted rice and beans are added to make the tea more like a soup. The most famous dish cooked with tea is shrimp stir-fried with Lung Ching tea, a speciality of Hangzhou where the tea comes from. Kevin Sui, Pinestone tea founder, regularly cooks with teas and one of his creations is green tea mayonnaise for fish and chips. Sounds good to me!
The Pinestone Tea Luxury Green Tea Set RRP £26.99 includes 100g Lung Ching, 100g Jasmine, and 100g Chun Mee loose-leaf tea. A complimentary re-seal clip to keep your tea absolutely fresh. The teas are also available separately in 100g boxes prices from £5.99. Free next-day delivery for orders over £20. Available from www.pinestonetea.co.uk
It isn't an option to travel to India at the moment, but it is still possible to enjoy a taste of the exotic with Tea India’s new regional single-estate tea range. These four blends of regional teas are sourced from some of India's most established tea growers.
Lisa Worthington, Head of Marketing Tea India comments, “Never has a sense of wanderlust been so prevalent in our everyday lives and Tea India’s Regional Single-Estate Tea Range taps into the need for travel.
image (c) Tea india
We have been working with some of India’s most established growers for years and the launch of this new range is the next natural step for our brand.”
The Specialty Tea Range single estate teas include:
Nilgiri - Dark and aromatic
Grown high in the Nilgiri Hills in the southernmost part of India, the mix of soil and climate provide perfect conditions for growing this delicious, full flavoured tea
Darjeeling - Delicate and citrusy
The champagne of teas! Darjeeling is grown on the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains. Sourced from the Badamtam tea garden, only small amounts of this medium bodied, highly aromatic tea is grown each year which makes it extra special
Assam - Malty and strong
Single estate Assam tea is sourced from the Margherita tea gardens in the low lying plains of the Brahmaputra River delta. Grown at low levels ensures a full-bodied, malty taste and a lovely deep coloured liquor. What more could you ask?
Kashmiri Kahwa - Aromatic green tea with cinnamon and rose petals
Traditional drink from the Kashmir region. Kahwa means ‘sweetened tea’ , an exotic blend of Indian green tea, infused with herbs and spices. Of the samples I was sent to try, this one is my favourite - it is has such a glorious flavour.
Action Village India
images (c) Tea India
Tea India is proud of its close relationships with Indian tea growers and the authenticity it brings to all its ranges. As part of its commitment to supporting its growers, Tea India teas are ethically sourced. What's more, Tea India supports Action Village India which supports 900 girls in rural Indian communities to continue their secondary education. The girls, between 12 and 17 years old, would have to drop out of school without the funds provided through support given. Due to discriminatory gender norms, the status of women and girls in certain regions of India remains low. Severe poverty also limits their access to education. Action Village India allows these girls a greater chance of escaping poverty, building their confidence, feeling empowered and living healthier and more productive lives. The project is based in Jharkhand and Bihar, regions where education levels are quite low, particularly for girls. Their education is a step in improving their and their families lives and the growth and sustainability of their communities.
All teabags are biodegradable, made from plant-based material PLA, derived from wood pulp and vegetable starch. It is sustainably sourced and industrially compostable, meaning teabags can be put in food waste or garden waste bins. The foil pouch used to keep the tea bags fresh inside the carton is also biodegradable.
Tea India products are stocked in Ocado and independent food stores.
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.