Night time is the worst for me and my anxiety. I will often overthink the days goings on, and instead of using the quiet time just before bed to unwind, I literally wind myself up more tightly. I run through everything I’ve got to do the following day, week, month and then, worst of all, I actually actively think of all the things I’m most worried about…just before I try to go to sleep. I used to dread the time between getting in to bed and falling asleep, my brain whirring.
A bed time routine has helped me avoid this situation, as has a very understanding
boyfriend fiancee (sorry, still can’t get that into my brain).
- No phone after 10pm, and I try to put down the laptop after 9pm, using the last hour of my day to unwind, chat with Tom, or watch something on TV. I am guilty of staying up too late reading blogs, scrolling through Instagram and re-reading my emails – guaranteed to get my anxiety flaring. Switching off from electronics is not only good for limiting the blue light (which interrupts our sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other lightwave) but also for my mental health to avoid FOMO, angst and jealousy right before bed.
- Tom and I have got into the habit of listening to the radio (Five Live) or a podcast as we go to sleep. It gives me something else to focus on other than the stress in my brain.
- Clean bedding – is there anything better than getting into clean sheets fresh from a shower? I think if I ever become a multi-millionaire (as well as having a personal photographer/hairdresser/stylist /makeup artist) I would have new, clean sheets every single night. We’ve recently swapped our hand-me down pillows and mattresses for a brand new memory foam mattress and pillows. I was sent an amazing medium-firm mattress from ErgoFlex and it is amazing, I literally float weightless on the top of it. It’s a supportive, pressure relieving mattress that has an internal cooling system – although ours is currently still on the floor as we haven’t bought a bed yet – and I’m not sure I’ve ever slept so well. There is no tossing and turning, and I can’t feel when Tom turns over at all.
- Washing my face, moisturising, brushing my teeth (currently also putting my teeth whitening moulds in), and rubbing in hand cream. I love the feeling of being all clean and ready for bed, in my PJs, dressing gown and slippers – am I 28 going on 80? Yes. Current favourites are Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, Estee Lauder face cream and a delicious Laura Mercier vanilla hand cream. There’s something about the ritual of this that calms me down and relaxes me.
- Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every night. I need at least 7 hours, although 8-9 is preferable. We try to get into bed just after 10pm most nights, and with Tom working on a rotating schedule, even some weekend evenings are just as rock and roll!
- Running – Ok not my bedtime routine but I feel like running not only helps me sleep better at night, wakes me up in the morning, and improves the aforementioned anxiety. Laying my kit out the night before, and checking the following morning’s workout is however part of my nighttime routine.
- Not too hot, not too cold. I recently discovered that Tom had turned off all of the radiators upstairs to ensure a freezing nicely cold bedroom. I’ve secretly turned the one nearest my side of the bed back on, but turning off the heating is a big part of our night (as is Tom making sure that the curtains are properly closed)! Actually it turns out that temperature is actually really important to a good night’s sleep due to the drop in our body temperature at night, so helping your body cool off can help you reach a deeper sleep – so maybe he is on to something?!
Do you have an evening routine? If so, what is the most crucial for you to get a good night’s sleep?