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'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.