Just before Christmas I was finding it really difficult to get to sleep, and to stay asleep. I’m generally a really light sleeper anyway – the slightest beep, creak or bang will wake me up. Which is quite annoying, but I was always able to fall back to sleep pretty well.
But for some reason, towards the end of last year I was finding it increasingly difficult to get to sleep and stay there. I would lie in bed, soooo tired, but with a million different things running round my brain.
Most of the stuff I was thinking about was utter rubbish. It’s not like it was even ‘oh I must do that tomorrow’ or thinking about things that had happened during the day. Oh no, it was total dross.
My thought stream would be like this:
I wonder whether or not we’ve got sausages in the freezer in case I decide I want to make toad in the hole for dinner, because they were talking about that on the radio last week… but then do I have eggs for the batter? How do you even make batter? I remember at school Mrs Bush the cookery teacher showing us how to make pancakes, so it’s probably similar. Remember when Jemma wanted to go to Tescos and Mrs Bush wrote her a note but spelt her name with a ‘G’ not a ‘J’ and Jemma freaked out and got detention for her strop. I wonder what Jemma is up to now. She’s still friends with Lucinda and that lot… is she on Facebook? I can’t remember. She’s probably married with a load of kids now. Oh dear, I forgot to call Anna back. I wonder what she wanted. She was up in London this weekend, I wonder if she had fun. Oh I’m up to London next weekend, what shall we do there? I wonder if there are any restaurants that do good toad in the hole, then I don’t need to worry about whether or not I have any sausages in the freezer….
That would go on for hours. Hours and hours of utter drivel running through my brain. I’d try and concentrate really hard on stopping my thoughts, and keep my head nice and clear. But I wouldn’t be able to do it for very long before something else completely random popped into my head.
So it was getting bad. I have to get up pretty early three days a week for work and have a long drive there and back, so being absolutely shattered was not doing me any good. Something had to be done!!
Introducing “Spa Time”
Spa Time is now what we call bedtime.
Spa Time consists of going up to bed at 10pm at the latest, lighting loads of candles and putting on some relaxing music. I currently flick between a playlist of Ludovico Einaudi (who I saw back in November), and Sleep: 111 Pieces Of Classical Music For Bedtime. I put this on a sleep timer to turn off automatically no later than 11pm.
I then get changed into my nice warm fluffy dressing gown and pop my electric blanket on (but only on low – I don’t want the bed too hot, I just need the cold edge taken off!).
Then I take off my make-up, cleanse and moisturise. I’ve made this an important part of Spa Time, so that it’s a ritual that helps me relax, but also ensures I treat my skin as well as possible.
Next up I set my alarm on my phone and put my phone on charge on the other side of the bedroom. Far, far out of reach. This is a key step which cannot be forgotten!
Then I get into my nice warm cosy bed and read one (sometimes two, depending on what the time it) chapter(s) of a proper book. I say proper in terms of it’s not on my Kindle or tablet. I find reading a paper book is far more relaxing that reading from a tablet. Probably because of the lack of backlight.
Remember all we have is candle light. I do have about four candles on my side of the bed so that I can read without straining my eyes, but it’s so relaxing. Candle light is such a soft, relaxing form of light. I’ve also got this little owl wax burner, with a variety of Yankee Wax Tarts which I burn – again all of these are relaxing scents to help us wind down after a long day.
Halfway through reading my chapter I spray a little This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. This is a very relaxing lavender and chamomile spray which you gently inhale as you fall to sleep. It helps you get to sleep and helps you stay sleeping.
Then, no later than 11pm (it would be earlier if I had my way, but the husband won’t let me!), we have a little cuddle, blow out the candles and fall quickly into a deep, relaxing sleep.
We only ever use our “Spa Voices” when we’re in Spa Time. Your Spa Voice is a hushed, whisper of a voice. There’s no need to talk loudly or make any loud alarming sounds at all! If you raise your voice, you will be reminded to use your Spa Voice.
So all of this has helped tremendously in terms of helping me to get to sleep much quicker. I find that I’m so ready to sleep when the time comes, that my mind is naturally rested and ready to nod off. Occasionally if I find I’m still thinking about utter rubbish, I’ll count down backwards from 100. Sometimes I’ll have to do it a couple of times, but focusing on that really helps. I’ve tried focusing on my breathing before, but I don’t really find that works for me, but I have heard that many others find that a useful tool when trying to get to sleep.
So that’s it. Candles, relaxing music, a proper book AND NO PLAYING ON YOUR PHONE OR TABLET. I honestly think this is one of the most important parts of Spa Time. Playing on your phone not only keeps your brain awake because of what you’re reading and browsing, but also because of the light that you’re staring at.
The next day, because my alarm is on my phone which I’ve put on the other side of the bedroom, I have no choice but to get out of bed as soon as it goes off. No snoozing for me anymore!
Have you got any tricks or tips for getting to sleep quickly? Let me know in the comments.