As you may have guessed from my irregular posting schedule, I've been a pretty busy bee recently. Balancing uni, organising an event, a blog and, well... life can prove to be a bit of a challenge. Sleep is the first thing to disappear in these situations. There's nothing I look forward to more than a nice, cosy bed at the end of a day, but even when I get there my mind is often still buzzing.
That's why I thought it would be a good idea to put together some of my tips on really winding down when I'm struggling. I've found these really effective ways to get into the right frame of mind to get to sleep, even when half of my mind is still whirring with the noise of my mental to-do list. Let's get started shall we?
The first thing that I like to do when winding down from a long day is to take a nice, hot shower. Really go to town on this and take the time that you want. Don't waste your energy getting worked up about it being two minutes before your preferred bedtime - this is your opportunity to start relaxing your mind. I find that using products with soothing smells work really well in slowing yourself down and getting into a calmer state of mind. I'm absolutely in love with my Chilly B Lavender and Patchouli Soap for this. Lavender is well-known for its calming effects, and patchouli is meant to be excellent for fighting anxiety and depression. A nighttime face care routine can be equally as relaxing, and my Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm is just fabulous for this. Its texture melts into my face, and the smell makes for an all-round relaxing experience.
Once out of the shower, keeping warm is really important. I like to throw on some clean, comfy clothing; I'm talking flannel PJs and fluffy socks, people! But remember, none of this should be rushed. Once you're in your favourite bedtime clothes it's time to create a really soothing atmosphere. Turn off your main lights, but keep on a lamp or two and light some candles if you have any. I have a Vinegar Hill Rose and Begamot scented candle which creates a lovely fresh, yet soothing ambience that I love. Massage is another great way to reduce stress, so I like to spritz a bit of the Di Palomo White Grape & Aloe Dry Oil across my body and massage it in. The oily texture feels wonderful on your skin, and the scent is gorgeous.
If only you guys could get a whiff of this...
At this point you really want to get rid of any excuse your mind has to not relax. I like to write a to-do list before I get into bed so that any worries are on paper rather than floating around in my head. It might be nice to do this over a relaxing drink. And no, a beer does not count. Some people recommend something milky, but I like to stay away from dairy late at night, so Camomile and Honey Tea is my weapon of choice. This is another item with a wonderful smell - it gets me feeling sleepy every time! Now it's time to blow out the candles, and spritz your pillow with some pillow spray. I use the Deep Sleep Pillow Talk Set which also includes a little scented roller ball that you can use on your temples for some added relaxation.
If you're anything like me, you'll still be craving some sort of stimulation, but at this point technology isn't a great idea. I've managed to find a compromise, though, with the discovery of calm.com. This website provides a calm-looking image with a relaxing soundscape, all for free. If that's not really your thing, they also provide a guided relaxation, which talks you into a deeper state of calm. This is the stage where I just have to train myself to relax. If I'm ever having trouble relaxing, breathing in for a long count of two and out for the same amount of time for a few breaths makes a world of a difference. I literally concentrate on my breathing - and nothing else if I can possibly avoid it - for a few minutes. Breathe in for two counts, and out. After a few breaths it becomes a lot easier, besides, if you continue this for long enough then at some point you have to fall asleep, right?
I am not a medical professional, so if you are suffering from serious difficulties in sleeping then I really urge you to speak to your doctor. For many of you, though, I really think that these tips might be able to help!
What do you do when you're having difficulties getting to sleep?
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