How to sleep better tonight
Tired all the time? Read on to find the best cures for insomnia and the products to help you sleep well
Getting a good night’s sleep is actually giving us sleepless nights – along with late-night mobile phone usage, our obsession with social media, working late, heavy meals, caffeine and Netflix binge-watching.
The World Health Organization has declared a ‘sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialised nations,’ and a nationwide study by Sealy UK, found that people are waking up feeling tired four days every week, on average. This chronic lack of sleep is leading many to seek help, with 9.5 million GP appointments made for the condition last year alone.
GP Dr Sarah Jarvis explains, 'Poor sleep can have a huge knock-on effect on mood, wellbeing, concentration, and even your physical health. There is excellent evidence that electronic devices can affect your sleep, while caffeine makes you more alert and alcohol affects the quality of your sleep, even if you drop off quickly.
'Having a quiet, comfortable sleeping environment with a comfortable mattress and no ticking clocks, beeping mobiles or glowing lights can make a huge difference to your "sleep hygiene".'
The three golden (and obvious) rules to avoid insomnia are:
1. Do not use electronic devices in bed (this sends a signal to your brain to stop producing melatonin, the sleep hormone)
2. Avoid sugary foods, and don't consume caffeine or alcohol within three hours of your bedtime
3. Avoid late-night eating – no meals within two hours of bedtime.
Scientists have found that indulging in a bath, and the resulting cooling-down period, tricks the body into thinking you’ve gone from day to night. Plus, there are a whole host of products to help send you off to the Land of Nod. Some exciting studies have found taking supplements and using products containing magnesium to be particularly helpful as a sleep remedy.
Nutritionist Kim Pearson says, 'Magnesium is a natural relaxant as it has been linked to lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It is also a smooth muscle relaxant so make sure your diet includes foods that are rich in the nutrient: spinach, kale, avocados, chickpeas, salmon and figs are all great options. I also recommend trying BetterYou’s Magnesium Sleep Lotion, which is clinically proven to provide a better night’s sleep.'
Founder of Wild Nutrition Henrietta Norton says, 'The hormone melatonin plays a significant role in our "sleeping and waking" cycles and its production is controlled by exposure to light.'
One of the most common symptoms associated with 'melatonin deficiency' is not feeling sleepy enough to 'wind down' and go to bed. Modern living, diet, and low levels of certain nutrients can all influence how well we are able to produce melatonin when we need it. Try the relaxing mineral magnesium (Wild Nutrition Food Grown Magnesium supplement, £16.50).
Another good remedy is the Movement for Modern Life – an online collection of at-home exercise classes with a ‘Ready for Bed’ section. It includes Relaxation for Good Sleep, Sleep Well Meditation and the Tension Buster Sleep Seducer. Subscription is free for two weeks, then from £10.99 a month.
The recipe for the perfect bedroom environment is to set the temperature at 20°C and invest in a personalised pillow from Nanu (from £38 for two). They have a whole host of options for you to choose that make you comfortable wherever you rest your head. Plus a spritz of something sleep-inducing and infused with lavender can also help.
Try This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, £20, which has 97% of users saying they slept better and 98% saying they felt more refreshed in the morning, or Mauli’s Sleep Dharma Pillow Mist, £22 – they might give you a fighting chance at a full eight hours.
A Sleep Mask by Slip (£50 at Lookfantastic), is the stylish option to shut out the light (and the silk is kinder to your face).
A new sleep monitor app called Rise has just been launched, which offers a personalised plan, including mindfulness sleep meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), delivered by a clinical psychologist, Dr Danielle Landau.
The app works out a plan based on your preferences and needs, and it really helps you to switch off from our 24-hour society. It’s available to download for free on iOS from The App Store, and on Android from Google Play (£8.99 per month).
And as for that Netflix addiction? The only way we can help you there is by recommending the best shows to watch right now, so at least if you're tired the next day it was worth it…
Dodow Sleep Aid Device, £49.99
This discreet gadget combines meditation, yoga and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, to help slow down your breathing and to calm the overthinking that happens at the midnight hour.
Buy Dodow Sleep Aid Device, £49.99 - click here
Bed of Nails Acupressure Mat, £70
A modern Scandinavian design based on the ancient Indian tradition of the ‘bed of nails’. It has more than 8,800 non-toxic plastic spikes, placed ergonomically and work in a similar way to acupuncture needles, thus reducing aches, pain and eases stress and, in turn, helping you sleep better.
Buy Bed of Nails Acupressure Mat, £70, click here
Rodial CBD Sleep Drops, £85
This is crammed with cannabidiol – a plant-based extract that has been proven to relax mind and muscles, and helps to calm redness and angry skin too.
Buy Rodial CBD Sleep Drops, £85, click here
Harvey Nichols Sleep It Off Tea Bags, £7.95
This is a sleepy combination of Fairtrade lavender, hops and camomile in easy-to-use bags. Once sipped, the tea helps you drift off to sleep, plus the stylish jar can be re-used or recycled when empty.
Buy Harvey Nichols Sleep It Off Tea Bags, £7.95, click here
This Works With Sleep Comes Beauty Gift Set, £50
These are the saviours of sleep: a Pillow Spray, Shower Gel, Bath Soak and Candle all loaded with lavender, camomile and vetiver to help you to drift off.
Buy This Works With Sleep Comes Beauty Gift Set, £50, click here
Neom Scent To Sleep Essential Oil Blend, £20
A blend of 19 pure essential oils that can be added to your bath or body oil, sprinkled on a tissue and placed under your pillow or added to your humidifier to help relax frazzled mind and body.
Buy Neom Scent To Sleep Essential Oil Blend, £20, click here
Mauli Purifying Rituals Brain and Beauty Alchemy Blend, £39
Before you reach for the melatonin, try this auyervedic blend. It’s brimming with adaptogens, such as Tulsi – a magnesium-packed herb that helps the body deal with stress and can also help with clarity of mind, aid digestion, release tension and help with sleep. For serious insomnia make an appointment with your GP.
Buy Mauli Purifying Rituals Brain and Beauty Alchemy Blend, £39, click here
Jo Malone Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist, £25
A soft and sensual pillow mist with musk and English Lavender that helps you reach the land of nod.
Buy Jo Malone Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist, £25 - click here
Crabtree & Evelyn The Gardeners Stars in the Night Room Mist, £22.50
Maximise your slumber time with this dreamy concoction of warming and woody scents of sandal and cedar woods, along with meditative thuya, all packaged in an apothecary-style bottle. There’s also a Sun Down Candle, £55.50 to burn in the PM and some particularly sippable Star Showers Tea, 22.50.
Buy Crabtree & Evelyn The Gardeners Stars in the Night Room Mist, £22.50 – click here