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Chances are, if you started the new year with a resolution or two, you might have already packed it in. No judgement here. It’s January; it’s cold, we’re averaging around three hours of daylight, and there are a million things to do. Now is NOT the time to smash those gym goals, eat salads, and redecorate the house. But there is one priority we could all push to the top of our list, which would make us feel a whole lot better… and that’s a good night’s sleep! 

We all know those precious 8 hours are the key to feeling rested, refreshed, and on our a-game, but how many of us struggle to achieve this? 

According to the charity Mental Health UK, around 1 in 5 of us aren’t getting enough sleep, and it’s having a huge impact on our mental and physical health. So what ways can we do to prioritise sleep AND rest, in our busy lives?

Routine is radical 

We all have our own morning routine that gets us going. For some, it’s inhaling two cups of coffee before you’ve opened both eyes; for others it might include a healthy breakfast, maybe some light exercise, or checking your emails; whatever it looks like, we all have our own unique ways to start the day. But what about your sleep routine? Or your end-of-day wind-down? How does this look? 

Try sticking to the same bedtime every day and wake-up time to ease your body into a healthy rhythm. Your body will soon start to know when it needs to fall asleep and adjust accordingly. 

Here are some simple and soothing suggestions to add to your nighttime routine. 

Bedtime Bubbles

Nope, no prosecco here. Whilst a shower is a great way to start the day, a soak in the bath before bed is the ideal way to calm your body down and even reduce your body temperature. Try using some soothing bath salts to help ease you into a peaceful slumber. 

Tea Time

Another great addition to your bedtime routine is to incorporate a herbal sleep tea. There are many different natural and caffeine-free herbal infusions that include valerian, camomile and lavender, all known to have a light, calming, and naturally sedative effect—a treat for all the senses. 

Sweet dreams 

When you’re feeling that slump, sugar makes us more awake. As you cosy up for the evening, reaching for the biscuit tin with a cuppa is all too tempting. Just make sure you give it enough time before you go to bed, otherwise your body will be on a sugar overload! Feeling peckish before bed? 

Try this night-time smoothie instead. 

Switch off 

It can be so tempting to get into bed early, and find that minutes and even hours have gone by, and you’re still scrolling through your phone. However, logging off, putting your phone on silent, or even better, not having it within arm's reach can do wonders for your sleep routine. The blue light has an impact on your brain activity, and will keep your mind active long after it should be asleep. 

Try - listening to a guided meditation or listening to an audiobook. 

Dim the lights 

As you start to wind down for the evening, dim the lights. For one, you will save electricity, and two, less lighting will help your body and your eyes prepare for bedtime. Candles are a good way to relax too, so put on your favourite scented candle, put your feet up and relax. 

Try - a satin sleep mask if you want to block out every slither of light—a great way to help you on your way to a restful sleep.

Write It Out

Keep a notepad or journal next to your bed, and write down those thoughts or tomorrow’s to-do list before you put your head on the pillow. That way, you don’t need to let your mind race as you unwind before bed. 

Forget counting sheep; why not try a mantra? Research shows that positive repetitive chat and words can help reduce negative thoughts. 

Try - repeating phrases such as: 

I am ready for a good night’s sleep 

I welcome rest 

I am calm and relaxed

Stress less 

We’re all experts on stress these days… or at least, we know how to ‘do’ stress, but this can lead to difficulty sleeping, which also impacts your physical, mental and emotional health. 

That said, sleep is most impacted when we have a lot on our minds. Hopefully, some of our simple ideas can help prepare you for a restful night's sleep, leaving you refreshed for the day ahead. 

Simple mindfulness practices can help to destress and soothe our nervous system. 

Try- a breathing exercise such as inhaling through your nose for four, and as you exhale, open your mouth and imagine you’re fogging up a mirror. Repeat 10 times. 

Or try this gentle body scan to calm your mind and body down before you sleep. 

Whatever you weave into your nighttime routine, be sure to put sleep and rest at the top of your to-do list this year! 

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