Sleep Blog

by Maureen Connor



As March 19th is World Sleep day, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to pass on some of my knowledge and share a few tips to help with sleep.


For many years, in my capacity as a therapist, I have supported people who had difficulties with sleeping.


When looking at sleep, or the lack thereof, it is important to take the holistic approach and consider all aspects of your life and your daily routine which can affect how well you sleep at night.


Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health.  Lack of sleep can take a toll on your daytime energy levels, productivity and emotional balance.  Yet, a large percentage of people at some point during their life struggle to get the sleep they need.


Unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices can lead to unsettled nights and can affect your mood, immune system, vitality, creativity and general wellbeing.


I wanted to share with you a few tips that can help you enjoy a better night’s sleep, which in turn will affect the way you feel during the day.


  • Tip 1 – Bedtime and Wake up routine – Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and help with the quality of your sleep.  Choose a bedtime when you normally feel tired, so that when you go to bed, you are ready to sleep.  If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm.  If you need an alarm clock, you may need an earlier bedtime.
  • Tip 2 – Reduce your exposure to light before bed – Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark – making you sleepy – and less when it’s light – making you more alert.  During the day, expose yourself to as much light as possible, working in light spaces where possible and taking your lunch break outside, walk the dog, take short outside breaks.


As you are preparing to go to bed, reduce the contact with light by avoiding light from TV’s, computer screens and mobile devices as this light can supress the melatonin that is needed to get you off to sleep.  Ensure your sleeping area is dark and any backlights from devices etc are covered.


  • Tip 3 – Exercise during the day – The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise, such as walking for just 10 minutes improves sleep quality. If you are doing more vigorous exercise, make sure you do this earlier in the day or at least 3 hours before bedtime.  If you want to exercise later in the day, opt for lower impact such as Yoga or gentle stretching.


  • Tip 4 – What you eat and drink before bedtime – Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can be responsible for troubled sleep patterns. Avoid these stimulants before your bedtime.  Instead, perhaps opt for herbal drinks such as chamomile tea.  Heavy meals near to your bedtime can also affect how you sleep, particularly with foods high in carbohydrates and sugar or spicy foods.  If you can, then bring forward your dinnertime, so your food has longer to settle before you go to bed. 


  • Tip 5 – Prepare your mind and body for sleep – Preparing for a good night’s sleep can start during the day. Certain rituals you do can tell your body and mind that it is winding down for sleep.  You may have a cut off time for watching television or using your devices and instead replace these with an audiobook, a book, or meditation – this will help to de-clutter your mind of thoughts and feelings that may affect your sleep.  Starting to gradually dim your lighting in your home by switching to ambient lighting and lighting candles can be beneficial.  Scent is also powerful when it comes to telling your brain it is time to relax and wind down, in particular those of essential oils, which also provide sleep benefits, such as lavender, chamomile, cedarwood and ylang ylang.  A warm bath with essential oils before bedtime can relax both your body and mind.  Also burning an aromatherapy candle or adding essential oils to an oil burner or room diffuser and spraying your pillow with an aromatherapy pillow spray or adding a few drops of lavender to your pillow.


Visualisation can also be very powerful in preparing for sleep.  By taking a few minutes each day to sit, close your eyes and imagine yourself in bed, looking and feeling relaxed and tired and having a restful night’s sleep and waking up the following morning feeling refreshed, you are subconsciously preparing your mind and body for this to happen.


I created the ‘Lullaby’ range to enhance relaxation and sleep.  This beautifully sweet, floral, blend contains roman chamomile and lavender, for their sedative properties, cedarwood which aids the release of serotonin and lemon helping to remove mental fatigue.  The lullaby blend is available in candles, wax melts, reed diffusers, essential oil and room and pillow spray.


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Thank you and good sleeping!