Getting a good night's sleep 20 July 2016

If you were to live to 78 and got about 8hrs sleep per night, you would spend 25 YEARS of your life sleeping. Don't quote me on that, I just googled it.. but that's a pretty good reason to get your sleeping on point.

I went through a phase where I self diagnosed myself with insomnia. It was after finishing school, I didn't have a job and hadn't decided if I was going to uni and thought pfft who needs sleep when there are TV SHOWS TO WATCH. It didn't take long for my face to tell me why I needed sleep. Dark circles told me that, and so did my mother. 'Eliza, it's the hours before midnight that count!'. I didn't really take that seriously until I had chronic fatigue and knew I needed a bit more structure.

So, here are my tips on how to get a good night's sleep... from someone who loves sleep, but can also mindlessly scroll through Instagram for hours!



  1. Wake up earlier. Try this for a week: set your alarm earlier than usual and as soon as it goes off jump out of bed. If you do this for a week, trust me, you'll be tired earlier which means you will want to go to sleep earlier. (Or, you'll start burning the candle at both ends - that's not what we want). I spent years trying to focus on going to bed earlier but it just ended up with me laying there thinking OMG I CAN'T GO TO SLEEP THIS EARLY.

  2. Stretch before breakfast. This is something I've recently started doing (before then it was just whenever I felt like it). If you have a stretch before breakfast then you HAVE to squeeze it in because the reward is FOOD. It doesn't get much better than that. Obviously if you start work early you might need to opt for a before-bed stretch.. but at least try and squeeze a 5 minute AM stretch, you'll feel great for it! Check out Get Bendy & Get Split for stretching! AND, keep your mat next to your bed as a constant reminder. If it's rolled up in a cupboard that is where it will stay.




  3. Keep your room as technology-free as possible. I don't have a TV in my room and I don't take my laptop to bed either, gone are the days of falling asleep to TV series. I use my phone as an alarm so that's always near by but I try to not look at it right before bed to allow my brain to calm down. It's always on silent (with no vibration), I turn the screen brightness down and also make sure it's face down so if any messages/calls do come through it doesn't wake me up. You can set your phone to Do Not Disturb too!

  4. Write everything down. If I have things I need to remember to do the next day or ideas for work etc I write them down before going to sleep. I get a lot of good ideas late at night so I always have a pen and book on my bedside table/ on the pallets.

  5. Meditate. Once my mind is clear of 'to-do's' and ideas I'm usually exhausted and can fall asleep relatively quickly but if I'm struggling with getting my mind to quieten down I meditate. Nothing fancy, I simply focus on my breath. When you focus intently on each inhale and exhale there isn't room for anything else - seriously, none of that incessant chatter. Guaranteed to get me off to sleep in a few minutes.




  6. Nature. Nature makes me feel peaceful so I have a Peace Lily in my room - apparently one of the easiest indoor plants to keep alive. I've already killed one, so I don't know how much I believe that, but Peace Lily II is going strong. I have no idea what the plant above is called, I stole it from the lounge room so this guy is not a permanent resident, he just wanted his photo taken (Dad steals it back and waters it).

  7. Ventilation. Air conditioning and heating isn't too great if you're constantly in it - it dries you out and you'll end up a scaly fish. Try and sleep with the window open and fan on in summer and rug up with blankets and heat packs in winter - obviously depending on your location/climate this might not be do-able but try your best.

  8. Natural light. My $10 curtains from Ikea are perfect for letting natural light in. Rather than having block out curtains I like to wake up to natural light. I feel like a disoriented bear coming out of hibernation if my alarm goes off in a dark room. I'm sure that is a very 'Australian' thing to say as we don't have dark winters (well not on the Sunshine Coast).

  9. White on white on white. Or a neutral colour scheme. White is considered a peaceful colour and my Mum LOVES white on white on white on white. So, naturally being her daughter with similar interests (or perhaps it's all I know) I love the cleanliness and calmness white and neutral tones bring. Hence why I have white walls, white curtains, a white pallet bed, white sheets and white floorboards! Keeping the main things in a room white means I can add colour with plants and art work and if I'm feeling really adventurous I can splash some colour with cushions on my bed, I haven't been that adventurous yet.

  10. Sleep on your side or back. There are so many pros and cons for each sleeping position. Have a squizz at this article, it's pretty good 'The Best (and Worst) Positions for Sleeping'. Again, I just googled that ;).




    You can decorate a room cheaply with places like Ikea, second hand stores and DIY projects but I think money well spent is money spent on a good mattress and bedding.
     

  11. A good mattress. For years I thought I needed a firm mattress but I was always waking up with a stiff neck or lower back. I then got a mattress topper which helped a lot and made me realise I needed something softer. When I was mattress shopping for my latest bed I took quite a while jumping on every single bed. Turns out, the ideal mattress (and pillow) is where you can lay on your side and your spine is neutral. If you have a light frame on a firm bed or a heavy frame on a soft bed this is usually not going to support your spine so make sure you pay attention to this and adjust accordingly.

  12. Good bed sheets. Mum and I both have a thing for linen (the fabric, not the general term for bedding, but that too I guess). So.. linen linen. I thought it was my favourite bedding fabric until I tried bamboo sheets. HOT DAMN, these sheets are ridiculously soft and I feel like I'm sleeping on a cloud!!! I even let Mum and Dad try them out for their opinion (and they are super fussy) and now they're sold too. Bamboo sheets are a funny fabric, when you wash them they go really hard and crunchy so you think 'how on earth could these be fun to sleep with!?', but once they dry they are silkier than high thread count cotton sheets!

    I have the Bambusa bamboo sheet set in white from Yo Home and I could not recommend them highly enough. The cons to having white sheets is that you do notice the dirt more, but the pro to that is that it's a good reminder to wash your sheets (you dirty grub)! I throw in a cap full of Napisan in every wash and that keeps them crispy white.

    I couldn't say goodbye to my love of linen so I alternate between my white bamboo doona cover and my stone linen doona cover (pictured) - both from Yo Home.



I hope these tips can help you get a better night's sleep. Let me know your tips and tricks in the comments.

Elle :)