How To Get The Best Night's Sleep You've Ever Had
- - - - -
Okay, so maybe this title might be slightly click-baity.
Because I can't promise you'll relieve the masterful lay ins you had when you were a teenager, nor can I compete with the sleep you have after a long day of travelling.
The kind of sleep where you literally melt into the bed and will not be woken by anything and anyone.
However, if you find yourself waking up more tired than you were when you went to bed - then I may have a few handy tips for you.
Because as easy as sleep sounds to the average outsider, it's actually a bit of an art form.
So here goes...
Invest in a good quality mattress
I'd never previously put two and two together when it came to restful sleep and a quality mattress.
I just naively assumed all mattresses were created equal and that they didn't make much of a difference.
Well, that was until we moved into our new home and had to source a new mattress because we upgraded the size of our bed from a double to a king.
David and I both made note of how much more rested we felt in the morning, how the aches and pains we kept complaining about (probs because we'd had a stray spring up our back) had disappeared.
Weeks passed and I noticed I was less tetchy.
I felt more productive and I didn't have that mid-afternoon slump.
And really, I can only draw parallels between our brand new mattress and the improved sleep.
We actually went for a brand called Bruno, who were incredible from start to finish both service and delivery wise, and also ease too.
Based in Germany, they claim to offer innovative mattresses, with 7-zone support that will transform the way you sleep (well, I can certainly vouch for that!).
They're so sure you'll love it, they offer you a 101 night trial period - so if you're not totally satisfied you're sleeping better after 101 whole nights, they'll refund you your money back.
I'll be totally honest with you here, we were unsure about ordering a mattress that we hadn't tested in person - as ordering online can always be a bit of a gamble.
We'd visited copious amounts of bed stores and just couldn't find that perfect one, they were either too soft (as much as I love feeling like I'm sleeping on a cloud, I don't want it to mould to my shape so much that I have to clamber out of it), too expensive (a new house was pricey enough) or too hard (take our previous mattress for example).
It was a little like the Goldilocks complex and I wasn't holding out much hope for the Bruno. But we knew we'd got it right when we took it out of the box, let it expand for 24 hours and realised that it matched our new bed frame perfectly (it's actually a soft grey colour with a white top).
Unwind before bed
I know this might sound a bit patronising, because all the general advice tells you to switch off half an hour before bedtime to unwind.
But more often than not, we're so on the go and trying to do everything at once that we tend to collapse into bed rather than slink in after a period of 'unwinding'.
It's not always feasible to take 30 minutes to prepare for sleep, we all know that - however by introducing a few habits prior to getting into bed, you can unwind without it feeling like a completely unrealistic chore.
For me, I always find a mug of steaming peppermint tea is my body's first sign that bedtime is on the horizon.
Not only does it help soothe your digestive system (especially helpful if you've had a big dinner) but it also calms you mind and gives you that warm, cosy feeling.
In the winter, I like to accompany this with a cosy dressing gown and a hot water bottle.
It's starting to feel a little Enid Blyton - but I'm sure you catch my drift - start introducing the cosy, comforting things in before bed to assist your mind in adjusting from 'work' to 'relax'.
Lower your caffeine intake
Again, pretty self explanatory I suppose but it always surprises me the number of things that actually have caffeine in them.
Diet coke is a no-no, green tea still contains caffeine and even some ice-creams and chocolate bars.
Now I'm definitely not telling you to stop eating all the good things, because we all love a good movie night before bed.
But it's definitely worth lowering your caffeine intake, especially if you're having trouble drifting off, sleeping deeply or staying asleep.
If I really fancy a milky tea before bed, then I'll opt for decaf - or like I mentioned above, I'll choose peppermint instead.
Discover your favourite sounds
This sounds really odd but sounds play a huge part in your sleep patterns and your ability to drift off.
For example, while at University I lived with an aspiring music producer who very kindly played loud, booming music through my walls until ungodly hours - which certainly made me feel slightly uneasy about having the most restful of nights sleep.
On the other hand, if it's raining outside (even pouring and thunder-storming) it makes me feel even sleepier and helps me drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Similarly, listening to the waves is incredibly helpful at inducing sleep.
There's also a reason that spa's play calming, soothing music while you're enjoying your massage - because it helps you drift into a relaxing state and unwind.
But if you're not lucky enough to have a school of whales communicating outside your bedroom window or you live in a hot country where it never rains, then the best thing to do is fake it.
There are a number of really great apps (both free and paid) that I can recommend, having tried personally - for creating soothing sounds to help send you to sleep.
Sleep Pillow has a whole host of relaxing sounds including waves, whales, tropical rainstorms, light rain, fireplace, stream, birds and even a hoover (if that's how you roll).
You can create your own sound mixes, set a timer and adjust your alarm clock to slowly fade into the noise, waking you up gently rather than abruptly.
Sneak beneath the sheets
Is there anything nicer than fresh, clean, new sheets?
Whether they're crisp and warm, straight out of the tumble dryer or brand new out of the packet, there's something so comforting about your sheets that definitely helps induce sounder sleep.
My current favourites are the luxury bed-linen bundles from Soak & Sleep, made with 100% luxuriously soft French pure linen.
Personally, I find it much softer than Egyptian cotton and its much more cosy too!