Once you've put them to bed you might be so exhausted that all you want to do is mindlessly scroll social media or watch TV but there are a few simple things you can do (and even products you can buy) to make getting to sleep that bit easier.
Check out this list of 13 sleep tips and advice to help you drift off to the land of nod more easily...
We know this might be really difficult if you're pregnant or if you are a new mum. But if possible, try and get yourself into a routine. If you get up and go to sleep at roughly the same time every night, it is really beneficial to your internal body clock/circadian rhythm. This routine helps your body know when it should be feeling alert and when it should be relaxed and tired. If you can work is so you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep then that is ideal as that is the optimal amount of time for an adult.
Try not to have caffeine after lunchtime
As caffeine is a stimulant, it is best to stop drinking it after lunchtime so it doesn't affect your sleep. Some people can drink coffee and tea all day and night long but if you're particularly sensitive it could leave you feeling tired and irritable. Try peppermint tea or a special night time blend if you're still craving an evening hot drink.
This Pukka Night Time tea is a unique blend of soothing herbs to help you unwind. Drink it in the evening to prepare you for a deep, restful sleep and a more refreshed awakening. It is naturally caffeine free, 100% organically grown and ethically sourced!
Limit screen time
In order to get to sleep more easily, if possible it is a good idea to stop using your phone or computer by 8 or 9pm (if you can get off the TV and read a book, even better but the light in TV is not as disruptive). The blue light in screens can interfere with our circadian rhythm. Bluelight is helpful in the day as it can boost attention, reaction times and mood which conversely makes it very disruptive at night. Too much light exposure at night has even been linked to some diseases like cancer or heart disease although this has still not been fully researched.
Try this breathing technique
The most common nighttime breathing technique is called the 4-7-8. You inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds and then exhale through the mouth slowly for 8 seconds. This simple but powerful breathing method promotes calmness and relaxation. The breathing pattern relaxes the nervous system and it can be practised anytime you feel anxious or stressed, not just when you're in bed trying to sleep.
These eye masks are the perfect thing to put on before you go to bed to help you relax and wind down. Spacemasks are self-heating eye masks that will transport you to another dimension - relieving tiredness, eye strain and many other Earthly tensions. The warmth comes alive as soon as you open it so make sure you’re fully reclined and ready for lift off.
Expose yourself to natural light
Getting better sleep isn't all about the prep you do in the evening. Just like blue light in phones, natural light can influence your body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. It is good to expose yourself to as much natural light as possible. Getting out first thing in the morning to go for a walk or to pop to the shops will help you feel alert at the right time and making sure you're in complete darkness at night will help induce that lovely sleepy feeling.
Lower the room temperature
Your body temperature changes when you are asleep. Your overall core temperature drops but the temperature of your extremities (feet and hands) increases. It is best to sleep in a relatively cool environment, as too much warmth can you leave you feeling overheated and irritable. A temperature between 15-23°C might help you sleep, although obviously everyone is different!
A brilliant bauble filled with 3 miniature bedtime rescue remedies: deep sleep pillow spray, sleep plus pillow spray and deep sleep stress less. Containing a powerful aromatherapy blend of Lavender, Camomile and Vetivert essential oils, deep sleep pillow spray is proven to promote relaxation and aid a better night’s sleep. Sleep plus pillow spray, with its intelligent microencapsulation technology, is a potent remedy for restless sleepers and to release tension built up throughout the day deep sleep stress less contains relaxing Patchouli, an essential oil lauded for its stress-busting properties.
Write a journal
Some people struggle to sleep because their mind is still wide awake thinking about everything from that day. This can make you feel anxious and stressed which will disturb sleep. If you write a journal focusing on the days positives and what you plan to do the next day it can help focus your thoughts and get things off your mind. To keep a gratitude journal simply write three things you are grateful for that day, things that made you happy or something nice to did for something (Top tip: buy a really beautiful notebook to encourage you to do this little task every day). This is also a common mindfulness technique that promotes relaxation, gratitude and happiness while downgrading stress.
Read a book
This is a great activity to keep you occupied that won't involve disruptive light (so avoid Kindles if you can). Reading is entertaining if you struggle to sleep but the simple act can be enough to tire you out and help you drift off sooner. There is a reason why we read little ones a book before bed as it has been shown to promote longer sleep!
It is really important to make sure there is no light to disturb your sleep. A blackout sleep mask is a perfect solution if you can't avoid a bit of light in the room. With the Bedtime Bliss mask, you can block out the light and get to sleep quickly. The contoured design of the mask means that it's more comfortable than traditional masks. It blocks out the light while still giving you the freedom to open your eyes and allowing REM sleep.
Try to stay awake
Ok ok, this one sounds a bit silly and doesn't make a lot of sense. However, we all know that if you lie there desperately trying to fall asleep you just end up feeling even more awake and frustrated. Try 'paradoxical intention', a technique where you force yourself to stay awake. This means the stress and anxiety you put into falling asleep won't bother you and you are more likely to relax and fall asleep. Don't knock it until you've tried it!
Have approx 60 seconds to spare? Why not join thousands of mums-to-be and start your very own Amazon baby wish list! They're absolutely free to create and perfect to send to the friends, aunties and your mum to make sure you're getting the baby products you really need...Click here!
Catriona originally joined the team as an Editorial Assistant to work on the 2019 M&B Awards. As a Digital Writer, she has written and updated hundreds of articles on the site from medical explainers to celebs news and shopping galleries.
Catch her running along the Thames or eating her way around London's restaurants.
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