First up let's talk about Gwyneth Paltrow for a moment; she who divides opinions. I'm firmly in the fan category; there I've said it. This is despite knowing that some of the things she says are a little quirky, that much of the GOOP content is out of touch with reality and that some of the claims she makes about food and diet aren't exactly evidence based. But honestly, none of that really bothers me; I love any of her recipes I have tried, I kinda dig her out of touch, aloof attitude and a visit to GOOP is more about escapism and entertainment than anything else. I get the feeling that Gwyneth doesn't care all that much what we think about her anyway.
Now that I've confessed to being both a Gwyneth and a GOOP fan, I'll get to the matter in hand and that's bedtime. You might be wondering where Gwyneth comes into all of this. Well she was recently praised and mocked in equal measure for promoting the concept of 'clean sleeping'. According to Gwyneth, clean sleeping is trying to get good, quality sleep on a consistent basis. She believes that sleep should be our fist priority, even before we start to think about our diets.
Whatever you think of Gwyneth, I think most people would agree with her on this point. A good night's sleep is essential to our health and well being. We all know that great feeling we get after a good night's sleep. and how lousy we feel after a few nights of broken sleep. While the label clean sleeping might be new, the importance of a good night's sleep is not.
Having struggled on and off with bad sleep patterns and being prone to the occasional night terror (which for the record doesn't bother me at all, although I can't say the same for those around me), I thought I'd dedicate some time and energy to the pursuit of consistently great sleep. For a deep and restful sleep, it's important to take a little time to prepare our bodies and minds for sleep. We put time and effort into other things we do, so why not do the same for sleep. My bedtime ritual is looking a little like this at the moment.
1. Cleanse, moisturise and wash your teeth
We all know we shouldn't go to bed with our make-up on as it plays havoc with our skin. I'd go a step further and say that it could also affect our sleep. There is something ritualistic about preparing yourself for sleep, washing your face and removing the day's make up, moisturising and washing our teeth all signal to me that the day is done and now it's time for sleep. These actions help ease me into sleep mode.
2. Night time yoga
Night time yoga is so easy to do and makes such a difference. I'm not talking about a long yoga session or one that requires a certain level of yoga competency. Really it's just spending a few minutes gently stretching our bodies to help ease our bodies into a more relaxed state prior to bedtime. There are lots of five minute night time yoga routines on YouTube, just search for one, press play and away you go.
3. Comfy nightwear
Comfortable nightwear is essential to a good night's sleep. I always go a size up when buying sleepwear as how annoying is it when it's too tight or restrictive. We all have our favourite PJs or tshirt that we like to wear to bed. Sometimes an old sweatshirt or tshirt reminds us of something that makes us happy. I love cotton sleepwear as it's soft and comfortable and I'm a big believer in treating ourselves to new sleepwear every so often. It all helps to make us happier and more comfortable in bed.
4. Immerse yourself in a good book
Reading is such a good way to unwind after a busy day. Immersing myself in a good book has a meditative quality to it and helps me to forget about the stresses of the day. Reading slows down my mind and when I concentrate on the story I slowly begin to relax and often fall asleep.
5. Dim the lights, dim the heat
For me a hot bedroom will lead to a restless night's sleep. Instead of upping the thermostat, opt for a cooler room and grab an extra blanket to keep you warm. I always use a bedside light rather than the main bedroom light when getting ready for bed and while reading or stretching as it helps ease me into a more sleepful mode.
6. Leave your digital friends out of the bedroom
How many times have we heard this advice. I struggle to follow this rule. The worst thing I can do when I awake in the middle of the night is to start looking at my phone, but yet this seems to be what I most often do. Where is the rationale thought in that?! For ages I went through a phase of not looking at my phone between 9pm and 9am and I think I'm going to start doing this again. Wish me luck, I'll need it.
7. Declutter your bedroom
Decluttered space, decluttered mind and with a decluttered mind, surely it's easier to sleep sound. Having a messy bedroom distracts me and if I'm honest, makes me a little uptight. So I'm all about keeping laundry under control, having a clear bed side table and putting away my clothes at night. I love those nights after I've tidied my room and changed my bed linen; it's almost impossible not to sleep well.
8. Avoid alcohol before bedtime
This has to be one of my number one tips for a good night's sleep. Even a small amount of alcohol disrupts my sleep and leaves me tossing and turning in bed from around 3am to 6pm. I'm not a big drinker anyway, but I if I'm having a tipple, I much prefer to do so in the evening time with an early dinner or even over weekend lunch rather than drink in a bar at night time.