It’s no secret that getting enough sleep is essential in feeling good – and looking good. It is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, benefiting your heart, weight and your mind. But it’s not always as easy as counting sheep so when Drift asked me if I’d be interested in talking all things sleep on the blog I jumped at the chance – I honestly think its so important and even more so when you’re a mum.
I have always been an early to bed kind of girl. Come 10pm I need to be tucked up tight and getting ready to switch off – even before Vivienne was in the picture. I’d rather wake up early and get started on the day fresh than stay up late – unless of course the staying up late involves a party – then its worth it. But when you have little people to look after you know your sleep isn’t guaranteed with a midnight wakeup call or two quite the norm – making it all the more important that any sleep you do have is as restful as it can be.
How do we sleep?
We sleep in cycles and the most important of these is deep sleep. You really need five cycles of deep sleep a night to feel refreshed and each lasts one-and-a-half hours so in an ideal world you should aim to get seven-and-a-half hours sleep a night at least. The hours before midnight are the most restorative, so make sure you go to bed before then (say 11pm) to feel your best.
What happens when we sleep?
Sleep physically restores you, regulates your mood, gives you more energy and boosts your immune system. It’s also when you brain puts down information and ‘detoxes’ after a busy day. Nothing else gives you all those benefits for so little effort.
If you routinely don’t sleep well, you’ll have increased hunger hormones, making you reach for carby and sugary snacks. You’ll also have a 23% increased risk of obesity, be twice as likely to develop diabetes, three times more likely to pick up a cold, and be more inclined to get depression.
What stops us from sleeping?
Stress – This can take the form of physical stress on the body, such as injuries or painful joints, and also digestive stresses, like food sensitives, chemical stresses from the environment and, of course, mental stress.
Hormone imbalances – The main four hormones that play up at night include cortisol (your stress hormone), insulin (blood sugar levels that can be spiked by eating sugar-heavy foods), oestrogen (which if unbalanced with progesterone can have a stimulating effect) and melatonin (your sleep hormone) that can be affected by modern-day stimulants such as phones, laptops or even street lighting. Your thyroid, which is a metabolism regulator, can affect sleep too if it’s off kilter.
Diet – Foods with high levels of sugar or salt, ready meals that contain additives and vegetable oils or anything spreadable which usually contains trans-fats can create dips in insulin that wake you up at night. Coffee and tea should be limited to before midday because it hangs around in the body, as does alcohol and no-sugar drinks which often have artificial sweeteners.
Sleep Environment – No laptops, TVs or phones should be allowed in the bedroom!
How do we sleep like
babies a man? (they never wake to those middle of the night shrieks do they?!)
1. Manage your stress – this has to be a daily commitment, even it is only for ten minutes. Try bathing in Epsom salts, deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
2. Balance your hormones – supplement your diet with vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc; all of these nutrients are needed to balance them, and again managing your stress will also aid this.
3. Good nutrition – eat real food that has a low GI and as much organic produce as you can. Pack healthy fats and quality protein into your diet and avoid refined carbs and sugar. Try not to eat too late at night and also remember to stay hydrated. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, try night-time teas that contain lavender, chamomile and valerian.
4. Sleep environment – bring your sleep time forward to 10.30pm and ensure your bedroom is completely dark; buy blackout blinds and check there’s no artificial lighting in the room from gadgets or TVs. Your bedroom should only be for sleep or sex! Write down anything on your mind on a notepad and avoid watching thrillers or the news. Physical exercise is also a great way to tire yourself out before bed.
I have started exercising (most of) these tips over the past week and they’re already helping me with drifting off quicker and deeper. Admittedly I am not ready to take the TV out of the bedroom yet – we love our movies in bed together (not forgetting TOWIE and MIC) – but the other tips I am following. I have also spent some time making my bed a nicer place to be. A fantastic mattress like this from Drift is so essential to a good nights sleep, quality bedlinen makes it a luxurious place to be every night, a good duvet for the time of year and the perfect pillows tailored to your personal sleep style. Shop my bedroom sleep edit here:
The Drift Mattress
Forget sleeping directly on latex or foam – both are artificial insulators and can make you overheat. The Drift mattress has an all-natural wool and cotton layer which keeps you cool and comfortable throughout the night. They also use a natural 100% viscose sleep surface, unlike the rest of the bed-in-a-box industry, who use 100% polyester (because it’s cheap).
Drift claim that their mattresses are impossibly comfortable due to the innovative pocketed springs. There are over 4000 of them in a mattress (more than any other roll-able mattress), they contour perfectly to your body, giving you the support you need to sink into a blissful night’s sleep. And as they’re tested to last in excess of 10 years, you’ll always enjoy impeccable bounce-back, no matter how many times you jump into bed. Sounds good!
Another huge plus point I found with the mattress was they way its delivered. I have a small cottage and getting our last mattress in was a nightmare, the delivery men threatened to take it away twice… it took a lot of negotiating! But the Drift mattress is delivered rolled up in a fab bag – easy to store if you’re not using it straight away too.
For anyone that loves British-made product as much as I do then you’ll love that Drift hand-make each one in Britain using expert craftsmanship and the finest natural materials.
In the market for upgrading your sleep – Drift are offering £50 off a mattress over November just use the codet the check out.
I always find bedlinen can get a bit forgotten. Its usually not until you enjoy a night in a hotel and their crisp white linen then return home to your own greying bed that you think perhaps its time I spend a little money on dressing my bed. Funny really when we spend so much time here. And who doesn’t love that feeling of getting into beautiful sheets. I have just upgraded my linen (which we have had since we got married – good ol’ wedding list) so in was in dire need of updating! Soak & Sleep is a new find of mine, the selection is fantastic, delivery superb and the low prices always guaranteed. I went for 600TC luxury Egyptian cotton – and wow is it good… I’ve included some of my other favourites from their site here including the seriously luxurious silk.
600TC linen from £22
The duvet and pillows
Our duvet was another wedding present from Vivienne’s godfather – he told us Congratulations on your marriage, enjoy the duvet – but no funny business. Twelve months later and Vivienne was born. But in all seriousness – I would always recommend spending on this. I love the weight of it but its cool in Summer and warm in Winter just as you’d hope from the perfect duvet. The pillows were pretty recent and I use much softer pillows than my husband who prefers a firmer pillow. A lot of the pillows now will show you which sleep positions they’re designed for on the packaging – Soak & Sleep splits it into back, front and side sleepers. I am a bit of a hugger, face on pillow sleeper – not good for wrinkles! My husband is more of a sleep on his back (snoring) sleeper.
The things that make it your bedroom
Art, pictures, scent – don’t forget to make your room your own but never too cluttered. Something I find so hard with the lack of space and bulging wardrobe but when I do get round to clearing the room and putting everything away (out of sight) it makes coming upstairs to sleep a much more relaxing experience.
Enjoy getting your beauty sleep.