The following has been written by myself, an employee at Boston, as well as a woman on a personal mission to crack the code of a great nights sleep. Dozing off has never been something that has come naturally to me (however lay-ins, I’ve got’em down to a T) so I’ve had to genuinely put some work in to get myself to the position I’m in today. I can now achieve a good nights rest pretty much every night and function like a normal human being, which has proved very important now I’ve joined the 9-5 club. A couple of years ago, I would regularly be awake to see the sun rise and eventually drift off to the sound of birds singing, but that has all changed. I’ve tried numerous products claiming they can solve my problems, all with varying success. After reading this, I’m hoping it may be able to help someone else who’s feeling the struggle and dreading early starts, for a different reason to many other people; it’s not the waking up that’s the hard part if you didn’t fall asleep in the first place.
Personally, I have only tried lavender pillow spray as it ranks highest in the league of relaxing smells claiming to be able to lul us to sleep. The scent, if applied sparingly, is rather pleasant for a while and can help me to relax if I focus on it once my head hits the pillow. I wouldn’t, however, say that I’ve found it to be a miracle cure but it’s always worth a try as what may not work for me could be a holy grail for someone else.
Probably the most affective on the list, the scented candle has now become a staple of my week night routine. I’ve tried everything from clean cotton to sweet strawberry and I haven’t noticed a particular one that works better than the others, I simply pick smells I enjoy. However, the main catalyst for me doesn’t appear to be simply the scent, it’s also the relaxing and cosy ambience that the candle creates. Once the candle is lit, it signals wind down time and with all other lighting turned off, it’s ability to relax is really, quite powerful.
Sleepy bath bombs
Now that Lush has taken over the world, it’s not much of a challenge finding a scented bath product claiming to enhance your bed time. I have tried a couple of different scents, and while enjoyable, I wouldn’t say they aided my sleep any more affectively than my regular bath (which I have to admit, helps). Personally, I believe having a routine is key to coaxing your body to drift off and for me, having a nice hot soak has become part of that. So, if I can incorporate some pretty bath products into that I won’t pass up on the opportunity; the more enjoyable the night time ritual, the better.
Here at the Boston office, we have actually conducted an internal sleepy tea trial to get some experience first hand into the potential affects such products can have. 15 members of our team tried a brand of tea claiming to induce sleep over a number of nights and then reported back via a questionnaire answering questions about it’s overall affects and their nightly routine. Sadly, we didn’t find the 8th wonder of the world. Only one colleague found that it helped him sleep a little better, ented candlebut after a couple of nights the affects wore off. Others found no improvement and some really didn’t enjoy the taste!
It’s best to be mindful of what we put into our bodies, so for me, the herbal route will always be my first port of call. On my quest to finally get a decent nights sleep, I confess to trying a couple of different herbal tablet options, all claiming to improve sleep. The affects haven’t been life changing, but if I find myself really struggling I will take a couple, admittedly perhaps for placebo affect. I potentially find it easier to stay asleep when I have had a couple, but still, not to a monumental extent. Some of them have also proven to have a rather funky smell and a taste that leaves you snatching the nearest drink, so the idea of taking them doesn’t fill me with relaxation.
Although not many of these have had a knock out affect (pun alert), there is one thing I’ve found that links my favourites together; routine. Honestly, it’s key. It’s certainly something you have to work at and perhaps find what works for you individually, but once you’ve sussed it you’ll never look back. My wind down process takes up to a few hours, so no staying out late in the week for me. That’s definitely something I’ve had to sacrifice in the name of sleep. Eating as early as possible stops a late night energy burst and a warm bath a couple of hours before bed starts off my process. Following this, it’s relaxing activities only. If this involves any screens such as a phone or TV (I’ve still got to watch Eastenders) I turn the brightness down as low as I can because the light emitted from such gadgets has been proven to keep our brains active and awake. Any bright lamps are switched off and replaced with dim fairy lights, and my favourite, a candle.
I’ve unfortunately found that failure to stick to my newly found ritual results in my old friend, the sleepless night. I’ve also discovered that breaking the pattern for too long quickly shoves me right back to square one, so understandably sticking to the plan is something I take quite seriously. For those who have never found drifting off a chore or faced the anxiety that goes along with preparing yourself for a long day of work after an all nighter, I envy you. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that all the little changes we can make in an effort to improve our sleep can and do work. Whether it incorporates trying some new products or picking up an old book each night, being well rested is something we need to prioritise and explore in the name of our health and mental well being.