What To Do if You Can’t Get to Sleep
We all know that sleep is important, but what to do if you can’t get to sleep? Toss? Or turn to the tricks of the (wellness) trade. We chatted with a few CONTENT friends, who just happen to also be some of our favourite wellness experts and asked them how they get to and stay asleep.
Tips for Getting to Sleep (When You Can’t)
58% of adults agree it is impossible to completely ‘switch off’, according to research by Mintel. What’s more, according to the same study, amongst adults who have experienced stress in the last 12 months, 54% report difficulty sleeping. That is why it is increasingly important to develop routines and rituals that help with sleep. This is what our experts do:
Powerfully affecting every system in our bodies (yes, even our skin!), it makes sense that incorporating breathing practise into our every day can support physical, mental and emotional ailments including our ability to relax and go to sleep.
When calming the mind and body is your priority, follow Tracey Woodward’s routine, ‘Box Breathing’. “Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, breathe out for 4 and hold out for 4,” she says. “Imagine a box, as you get better you can increase from 4 seconds to 5 then 6 and so on. I do it for the count of 12 now. They say it’s used by the navy seals to calm before combat.”
For those who wake up in the middle of the night and find it nearly impossible to get back to sleep, Annee de Mamiel recommends adding aromatherapy to your breathing ritual.
“I have Anchor from my Sleep Series on my bedside table and then do some Deep Breathing,” she says. “One of my favourite practices to help me sleep is just an extended exhalation. So, essentially you’re breathing in and out through your nose while making sure that your exhale is 2-3 counts longer than your inhale. And this immediately grounds your nervous system and begins to switch you off.”
The benefits of meditation are numerous and apply to many areas of physical and mental wellbeing (see our post on meditation here).
“Meditation is being shown, over and over again, to be a bit of a golden bullet when it comes to sleep issues. Statistically, Vedic (or transcendental) meditation, in particular, has been shown to lower sleep issues by 42%,” says Eminé Rushton.
When all else fails, sleep aids are a wonderful way to relax and soothe the system. From medicinal mushrooms to herb-infused chocolates, we have a large selection of supplements in our CONTENT curated Sleep Collection. “I use CBD occasionally to calm before bed and I would recommend Magnesium daily,” says Danielle Copperman.
Before Bed Rituals
Take time in the evening to check in with yourself. “I always go through my whole body toes to the top of the head saying thank you for the day, also if I am fatigued I have a warm bath in Epsom salts and a lovely oil,” says Tracey. We recommend this one from Verdant Alchemy.
Night Time Skincare Routine:
Having a pre-bed ritual allows us to destress and unwind for the evening. The benefits are boosted when you incorporate aromatherapeutic products into said routine.
Annee uses products from her range in her Nighttime skincare routine. “The scent and breath. This is the beginning of the unwind, the scent of each product has been formulated to begin to ease the day’s stress, so 3-5 minutes here enables me to drift into sleep easily and my body to release the stress of the day,” she says.
Danielle recommends facial massage to promote circulation and relaxation. “I cleanse my makeup off, apply an oil or moisturiser (I make this into an aromatherapy ritual too with gentle massage – using only natural products that offer an aromatherapy element),” she says.
The blue light that emanates from devices such as mobile phones and laptop screens has been proven to negatively impact sleep. In order to get a good night’s sleep, you should switch any blue light-emitting devices off at least half-an-hour before bed, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
“I try to leave my phone for at least 30 minutes before bed,” says Danielle. On nights that she practices Yoga, Eminé says, “I switch my screen to night mode to cancel out as much blue light as possible.”
Do Hours Matter?
Yes, although some people genetically don’t need more than 4 or 5 hours – these people are rare. For the rest of use the recommended amount of sleep for an adult is between 7 and 9 hours per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
That said, everyone is different. Some people function well on very little sleep, while others feel great only after a solid 10 hours. Tracey is close to “7.5 to 8.5 hours. I always meditate in the morning too, normally 15 minutes but at the moment I’m doing 30 minutes.”
“For me, I tend to get around 7 [hours],” says Anne. “I love to take naps when I can – just short ones to give me a mid-afternoon boost of energy and reset my ability to focus!”
“At least 8 [hours],” says Danielle “I am one of those people who really, really needs their sleep!”
Meet the Wellness Experts:
Tracey Woodward has held roles at several major brands, including CEO of Aromatherapy Associates, building the Aveda brand in the UK, Commercial Director at Urban Retreat Spa at Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and advisor for Marks & Spencer, where she helped redesign and develop the beauty department. Let’s just say she knows a thing or two about how being busy can affect sleep. @TraceyWoodward
Annee De Mamiel
Annee de Mamiel is a leading authority on high-performance natural skincare and the effects of stress on the skin. Her work has been praised by beauty insiders and featured in some of the world’s most revered beauty and lifestyle publications. @demamielskin
Eminé is acting Editor of Oh Mag and was Wellbeing Director at Psychologies magazine for 9 years. She and her husband Paul are the co-authors of Sattva: The Ayurvedic Way to Live Well (Hay House). Eminé has also studied Vedic Healing with the American Institute of Vedic Studies. @thisconsciousbeing
Danielle Copperman is a wellness, travel and sustainability writer. Alongside modelling, she is trained in diet & nutrition, holistic massage and Strala yoga, she is a holistic chef, author of cookbook and lifestyle manual, Well Being, and is the founder of Qnola. @dcopperman