Sleep is the ultimate luxury, and it’s free – so why aren’t we getting enough of it? We asked Fiona Klonarides, Tisserand Aromatherapy Wellbeing Collective Beauty Expert and founder of The Beauty Shortlist her top tips to get those all-important Zzzz’s.
Ahh, sleep (yawn!)…the non-negotiable wellbeing essential most of us can’t get enough of – and that includes millionaires. Yet the health risks of sleep deprivation go way beyond a groggy day in the office. Chronic lack of sleep crushes the immune system and can pave the way for life-threatening illnesses or serious memory issues like heart attacks or dementia.
The ultimate beauty and brain tonic sleep is up there with the other six pillars of health: clean water, clean air, optimal nutrition, exercise, and sunlight. Sleep, the ultimate luxury, is free, so why is it so frustratingly elusive? A recent study revealed Brits get on average a slim 6 hrs 18 minutes a night – that’s almost two very long hours less than the “ideal eight” (although some people and children and teenagers need more). When you think about it, before “modern civilisation” and the invention of electricity, we’d sleep just after sunset and wake up with the sunrise and birdsong.
If you dream of hitting your pillow earlier, here are 3 ways to super-charge your sleep:
1) Problem – Checking emails/Instagram/late night TV, etc. before bed
– HEV/blue light from our smartphones and tablets is one of the worst hidden enemies – and just like UVA/UVB rays, it ages your skin!
Solution – Barring a magic solution, it’s down to willpower and creating healthier habits: switch off your devices at least an hour before bedtime and (ideally) unplug all electrical devices and the Wi-Fi, too. The news is a terrible thing to watch just before bed, it’s a toxic overload for the brain and emotions (I haven’t watched the news for at least 5 years and feel much better for it).
2) Problem – Anxiety/Worry/Long To-Do List
Solution – Introduce sleep-inducing rituals to begin your nightly wind-down: have a relaxing essential oil bath and try a nightly natural calmer like a magnesium tablet, or valerian, hops and passion flower blend. Essential oils and rituals combined can be really helpful in taking the edge off insomnia and anxiety – for this, you need to look no further than the 3-Step Ritual to Sleep Better Kit.
Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary: The Aroma Spa Diffuser and Sleep Better Diffuser Oil would make a beautiful “buy for yourself” treat. Make a shortlist of your favourite guided meditations or mantras, and don’t keep to-do lists or worries in your head – write them down – and tick them off. Remember there’s a solution to almost every problem.
3) Problem – Noise/hormones/room temperature/the list goes on…
Solution – It sounds like an ancient Chinese saying, but it’s so often true – the more you crave peace, the noisier your neighbours are! The day I discovered silicone swimmers’ Bio-Ears plugs changed my life, now I never travel without them. I can sleep through anything even if my hotel’s next to a late-night flamenco bar and I’ve got to be up at the crack of dawn to travel to an early morning meeting.
Sometimes pinpointing exactly why you can’t sleep can be tricky, though. Look at the obvious things like room temperature (slightly too warm?), or less the obvious, like blood sugar levels, and hormonal fluctuations. Even when – and what – you had for dinner can play a role. Eating too late, for instance, can be as bad as skipping dinner entirely.
And sometimes, all you need is a little help. Cue the Sleep Better Pillow Mist… goodnight