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Sunday 6 December 2020

How To Get A Better Nights Sleep - 6 Sleeping Tips

Pukka Night Time Tea / Chunky cardigan / fluffy lounge set / Ad affiliate

Advertorial post - Hello hello. How is your sleep at the moment? Has it been impacted this year? When I’ve discussed it with friends and family I’ve received mixed views - some have slept through the entire period as much as possible in the hope that they will wake up and life will have returned to normal and others have found the lack of their ordinary day to day activities and added worry about their livelihoods, children, the situation etc etc has meant that they are not as settled as they used to be and can hardly sleep at all. Many friends are lacking in sleep from stress and even having the weirdest of nightmares, to say it's a weird time would be an understatement. It’s so sad that something so natural as sleep and something that can make us feel so much better when we get enough of it can be so easily disrupted by stress, hormones, alcohol, and so many other variables. Today I am here to talk to you about sleeping tips as I feel like I am finally in a good routine with my sleep and trust me, the benefits are well worth it.

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Isn’t it funny that when we’re babies, we really don’t worry about sleep - it just happens! You’re small so your worries are small and so long as you’re fed and watered and adequately exercised, your parents tuck you up and you sleep soundly most of the time. That’s certainly what used to happen to me when I was younger but then I hit the teens and found Midnight feasts with friends and sleepovers and that is probably when, without realising, I was introducing poor sleeping habits in to my life!

Add in to that Uni life where I didn’t go to bed at all sometimes, moving abroad for a year, travelling through different time zones plus using my night times to break the back of pressing work and it’s not wonder I have gone from being a soundly sleeping baby to someone who has a real mixed experience with sleep. I definitely blame University, it was cool to stay up til 3am working on essays or, doing 7 nights out in a row. So, this blog post is not me telling you I’ve cracked it, because I haven’t but what I can tell you is that it’s something I’m always working hard to improve - sleep is part of my feel good toolkit along with good exercise, fuelling my body properly and reducing stress. I’m continually trying to refine these areas of my life because I truly believe collectively, they give us the best opportunity to enjoy a long life.

So, as you can tell from the pre-amble, sleep is something I think a lot about so when Pukka (who's teas I have been buying and loving for years) launched a campaign to encourage better sleep habits and asked me to work with them to share good sleeping tips that work for me plus introduce my audience to their new night time tea, I jumped at the chance...check out their Sleep With Ease programme

So, let me tell you what works for me when I am doing it right (and I don’t always - you will hear me talk a lot about sleep if you look at my Instagram stories!) Here are 5 sleep tips:

Top Tip 1: Have plenty of wind down time between finishing work and going to bed. One of the very worst things I do is work to the wire before flopping in to bed. My mind is then wired about the last email I sent or a client that I need to speak to and so on. Not good. On the days where I have a proper plan which has a hard end time and wind down time I sleep so much better. I promise myself I will switch off my laptop at a certain time and then I do things I enjoy like walk, cook, watch some chill out TV and other things which I personally find therapeutic (and of course, have a cup of tea right before bed). The difference this makes to my sleep in remarkable and I can only put it down to the fact that I am fully relaxed by the time I climb in to bed. As a self employed person, constantly working from home, this is a real challenge. There are no office start and finish times and the social media world revolves 24/7 so setting work time boundaries is not easy but when I achieve it, it’s always worthwhile for the extra zzzz’s it gives me.

Top Tip 2: Don’t leave it too late - this is a very personal thing but if I go to bed at the wrong side of Midnight, for some reason I always have a bad night’s sleep. The times I get the best sleep are when my wake up time is around 7.30/8.00am and my bedtime is around 11.00pm. Also, staying in a routine and not varying these times too much really helps too. If one morning I wake up at 7 but another I’m up at 10 this can really disrupt me.

Top Tip 3: Make a list! If you’re anything like me you will be a complete list freak. I have a list for a list to remind me to make a list! One time when I am always really good at this is Sunday night because I see a new week coming, a fresh start and that truly motivates me. I am usually relaxed on Sunday too because I haven’t been working as much so in the evening I switch on my laptop to get on the front foot for a couple of hours before then switching off again and winding down for bed. Then, no matter what else happens, the last thing I do is always make a list for the week and dump everything out of my brain. It helps me sleep so much knowing that everything I need to do in the week is on that list and I can tick things off as I achieve them. It's just about getting a 'brain' dump out, onto my list then I can let my mind go.

Top Tip 4: Pamper! When on point and winding down early (see tip 1), another thing that really helps me sleep is taking time out for a good cleansing and beauty routine. I love to lock myself in the bathroom, run a lovely bath, breathing deeply and sipping a hot drink helps me to relax, as does taking the day off and gently massaging and nourishing my skin with serum and creams. I mentioned earlier that Pukka have introduced a new night time tea which is organic, caffeine free and gluten free and is suitable for a vegan and vegetarian diet and this is currently my hot drink of choice while I am pampering myself (even my brother says it's his new favourite tea) - get the tea online here, I bought it in bulk! 

Top Tip 5: Dim the lights and turn the TV down. I find bright lights and loud noises just before bed startle me which then stimulate my brain and prevent me from relaxing so having some well placed lamps and keeping noise low is good. If you can, put your phone or laptop on a special non-blue light / night mode from around 8pm, then if you must be on technology, it isn't so harsh.

Top Tip 6: It’s the little things - I cannot sleep if I’m too cold, I find it impossible so I have to have the temperature in my bedroom just right. Similarly, I cannot sleep if I’m hungry so I always eat a snack an hour or so before bed. There is nothing that keeps me awake more than a grumbling tummy.

In addition to the above, I know that one of the biggest tips is to refrain from looking at a phone screen before bedtime and I haven’t included this as one of mine as I can’t honestly say I do it but I do find putting my screen on night time mode really helps with the blue screen issue. I also love to spray my pillow with a fragranced sleep spray and I also like reading in bed - now that really does make me sleepy.

So there you have it, I’m not perfect at any of this but I practice these things regularly and when I do they really work. Sleep is vital to our well being and I really feel so much better when I am sleeping well so, while being tired is a universal issue, it's something that is worth working on to improve as much as we possibly can.

In addition to the popular Night Time caffeine free tea with several calming and soothing herbs, Pukka are also running a programme full of hints and tips to encourage better sleeping habits including a sleep diary. here is a link for you to get involved and check it out, like me, you may get better at sleeping - hooray, meaning I can actually start my workouts at 7am now and really seize my day! 

Don't forget to check out Pukka's free Sleep With Ease programme!  

Lots of love, Em x

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