5 Tips for Better Sleep

Posted by Carole

There are two kinds of people on this big blue planet of ours – those who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and those who cannot help but switch to full-thinking mode as soon as the lights are off and start reviewing all the things they have to do, or have failed to do for that matter, as well as their worries, plans, hopes etc. and all this instead of sleeping of course!

I used to belong to the first group but it seems that growing older made me become one of these night-time worriers and I now often find myself ruminating for an hour or so before I can finally go to sleep. And it’s not always a bad thing as I often stay awake because I’m too excited thinking about my next blog post or holiday but it can quickly become stressful when the excitement turns to exhaustion as I realize I only have a few hours of sleep left and I’d better fall asleep soon if I don’t want to be an irritable zombie in the morning.

I know I’m not the only one in this situation so today I want to give you a few easy and natural sleeping-aid tips I’ve tried myself and which could be useful to you too!

But first I need to add that if you suffer from severe sleep issues or insomnia you should talk to a doctor as health professionals can offer solutions so don’t be shy and go get help!

  1. Relaxing music

headphones-924779_960_720

Because I love everything that is health & wellbeing related, I often find myself looking for new studies and a few years ago I came across an article about the power of music claiming that some tracks can slow down your heartbeat, breath and mental activity and therefore induce relaxation and sleep.

That’s is based on these facts that, in 2011, a British band and sound therapists decided to create “The Most Relaxing Tune Ever” by carefully arranging harmonies, rhythms and bass lines to help slow heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and Oh-my it does work!

This tune is Weightless by Marconi Union and I’ve been listening to it since I made its discovery, at night of course but also in the middle of the day when I’m in need of some comfort or calm or just in the background when I’m working (I’m actually listening to it as I write this blog post!)

Many studies have proved its exceptional calming effects so do listen to it as this tune is a relaxation marvel and should make you feel as peaceful and calm as ever, especially at night.

And if you ever get tired of it, scientists have established a playlist of the 10 most relaxing tunes on Earth, topped by Weightless of course, and here it is:

  1. Weightless by Marconi Union (also available as an extended 30 mins and 10 hours version)
  2. Electra by Airstream
  3. Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix) by DJ Shah
  4. Watermark by Enya
  5. Strawberry Swing by Coldplay
  6. Please Don’t Go by Barcelona
  7. Pure Shores by All Saints
  8. Someone Like You by Adele
  9. Canzonetta Sull’aria by Mozart
  10. We Can Fly by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)
  1. Essential oils

essential-1898944_960_720

I’m a big fan of essential oils and in awe at how they can help induce and maintain sleep, a fact that has been backed up by science! My fav essential oils are Lavender, Bergamot or Ylang Ylang which are well known for improving sleep quality but many others pack the same benefits such as Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Sandalwood and Cedarwood. Depending on the essential oil (check with one as some of them cannot safely be applied on the skin), you can apply them topically by gently massaging your skin or use a diffuser that will keep your room beautifully scented while you fall asleep.

I also sometimes use a lavender pillow-mist that I spray on my bedsheet. It smells wonderful, can be found in most drugstores, is a hassle-free way to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and it works wonder as the smell of it makes me instantly sleepy!

  1. Bed-time routine

bedroom-552565_960_720

I try to stick to a bed-time routine as much as possible as going through the same habits and moves right before bed send messages to my brain that it will soon be time to sleep and that it should start slowing down in preparation for it.

You can adopt any kind of routine as long as it involves quiet, peaceful and relaxing habits such as

  • gently stretching your body, especially the hips and back, making sure to make slow and flowing movements
  • cleaning and moisturizing your face with your favourites beauty products to give yourself a relaxing moment
  • giving yourself a quick facial or hands massage
  • taking a lukewarm shower
  • indulging in a soothing lemongrass infusion (avoid any caffeinated beverage of course!)
  • putting on your most beautiful pyjamas
  • staying away from the screen of your phone or laptop as it emits a blue light that disrupts sleep-inducing hormones
  • banning TV from your bedroom. Bedrooms are here for two things, sleeping and… well you know!
  1. Keep the thermostat down and your bedroom dark

pexels-photo-147634

I hate being cold and always loved my bedroom as cozy and warm as possible but things changed when my boyfriend and I moved together as he gets incredibly hot at night and has to turn the heating off. He also enjoys sleeping with the window open even though it’s cold outside. I took me a few weeks to get used to it but it does work and I feel sleeping in a cold room helps me have more peaceful, non-interrupted nights. Plus, feeling a fresh breeze on my face in the morning while I’m still hidden in the warm cocoon that is my duvet is a delectable sensation.

I must admit that total obscurity can make me a bit anxious and that I’d rather see lights from the streets or better the moon projected on my bedroom walls but I have noticed that the darker the room is the faster I’ll go to sleep. Full moon for instance can make your bedroom a lot brighter and keep you awake for longer so it’s well worth investing in curtains if you have issues falling asleep. Worth case scenario they will make your bedroom look a lot more fancy!

  1. Invest in your bedroom

bed-1284666_960_720

I might sound old fashion saying this but I a firm believer that quality mattress and pillows, adapted to one’s morphology and weight, are key to a good night sleep and in the long run to overall health & wellbeing.

Thankfully, reasonably priced mattresses and pillows can be easily found nowadays and a quality purchase shouldn’t leave you bankrupt. Also bear in mind that you will keep your mattress for years so you’d better add that extra cash if you don’t want to regret your purchase after a couple of months and pay the consequences for years to come.

I also find that good quality bedsheets make a difference when you find it difficult to fall asleep, a silk and soft touch on your skin being a lot more soothing than gritty and scratchy bedlinen.

I hope these tips will work for you! As for me, just talking about it made me sleepy so good night all!

Thanks for reading! Like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your tips with us!

Find Your Yoga

Posted by Carole

As some of you may know, I’ve recently moved to Bern in Switzerland to follow my partner who has been offered a job there. This means that I had to quit my job in advertising and while I await a work visa, I have some time on my hands. First I was worried it would get a bit boring and lonely not having a day job but I manage to fill my days with lots of activities and actually feel like the day is going way too fast and that I could do with a few more hours to go through my to do list.

I won’t bore you with the flat moving, visa and admin details here, which take a lot of time but are not that much fun. Nope, today I want to tell you about the good stuff and being off work means I finally have the opportunity to try out new activities I’ve been contemplating for a long time.

However, by moving to Bern, I faced a few obstacles:

  1. In Bern, people speak Swiss German and I don’t. I actually don’t even speak German and only know a few words like Kartofeln (potatoes) or schümtzig (dirty), which are not very useful on a day to day basis as you can imagine.
  2. Life in Switzerland is super expensive but like very very very expensive. I’ve lived in London for eight years and thought it was very pricey but Hey! come and visit Switzerland and you’ll cry each time you have to buy the simplest item from coffee to olive oil, meat and toilet paper too! Even McDonald’s is scaring off tourists with a basic Big Mac menu at about £10… Yeah! Do you feel my pain now?
  3. I’ve just arrived in Bern and don’t know anyone here so I wasn’t sure were to go to get recommendations on activities or else.

This is why I decided to investigate the wonderful world of mobile apps to find activities I could do on a daily basis from the safe haven of my flat – no Swiss German or cash splashing involved!

And such a great idea it was! I’ve started many new activities since roaming my Apple Store and one of them is… Yoga inspired Fitness.

Nothing extraordinary I know but for me it was a big deal. You see, I’ve never been a yoga person (well at least I thought I wasn’t until recently) and the first yoga class I attended put me off completely. I remember so vividly how I found it impossible to bend and roll and put my feet over my head the way the teacher instructed me to and how I felt totally left out and discouraged for the entire session as I could see my classmates yoga-ing like pros and giving me judgmental looks since I was just lying flat on my mat, incapable of doing most of the poses.

Another thing that put me off was the sight of all these bottoms up in the air pointing dangerously towards me and especially this guy’s, who was wearing a legging way too tight… but that’s another story and one I probably shouldn’t mention.

So after doing some researches, I came across an app called Asana Rebel claiming to be the “only Yoga Inspired Fitness app in the world” and thought that might do the trick for me as I was looking to gain in flexibility, strength and serenity but alsolarge_asana_rebel_logo for a good cardio workout.

I downloaded the app and was invited to take part in a beginner session entitled “Your first yoga workout” that lasted only 6 minutes but got me hooked straight away. Without hesitation I subscribed to a one-year plan at about £38 and have been using the app daily since (well almost daily…) with great results both physically and mentally!

But before I tell you more about the changes I’ve noticed, here’s what I like most about the app:

  • It is beautifully crafted and the user experience is very good
  • I love the look & feel, which is smart and sexy but also the soothing voice of the English speaking instructor (you can choose from different languages) and the music too (again you can choose from a list of six tracks to accompany your workout)
  • The teacher’s instructions are clear and the exercises suggested are a blend of fitness moves and yoga poses that are actually do-able even if you’re lousy at yoga like I was (!), which allows you to slowly get into it, giving you a chance to progress rather than abandon altogether.
  • Combining fitness moves to a yoga routine makes it an efficient way to burn fat at a fast rate and having tested it myself, I can guarantee that you’ll be in a sweat and your heart will be pumping fast by the end of a session.
  • The app features single workout sessions of 10 to 30 minutes all having their own purpose from fat burn, detox, relaxation to flexibility and even exercises for better sex (yeah!) but also full coaching programs lasting from 4 to 8 weeks and again they are all targeting a specific goal you might have like body toning, weight loss, strong back, bikini body, busy mum time and lots more.

asana mobile

Now here are the very positive changes I’ve noticed since I started using the app:

  • I can feel my body stronger and a lot more flexible than before, which is something I notice on a daily basis as I do gain more flexibility with each session.
  • I could see results after a couple of weeks only, especially my shoulders and back that are stronger and look more toned as well as my abs that are getting more apparent with each workout.
  • I feel a lot better in my body and a lot more mindful of it too. I now enjoy being conscious of my entire body, which is something that didn’t happen to me before (yes, I know it sounds weird but that is what yoga does to you!)
  • After each workout, I feel good and relaxed but also sexier and more beautiful and this makes me happy with my body. Even though there are still things that I want to improve, I just feel that I love my body more after a session with Asana Rebel.

Of course, there are a myriad of Yoga and Fitness apps out there which are great but Asana Rebel did make a difference for me as it’s the first time I actually stick to an app coaching program and I now enjoy yoga-ing. And that, my Frinnies, is a biggie!

Convinced? Give it a try and tell me about it!

As for me, I’ll make sure to keep you updated of my progress with before & after blogs coming soon so keep reading!

Visit asanarebel.com for more information or your Apple store or Google Play to download the app.

Note that if you’re not fully convinced the app gives you the possibility to subscribe to a one-month plan at about £23 so you can test and enjoy all the app has to offer before committing to a one-year plan.

Make sure to like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own fitness & yoga tips!