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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

Top 5 Tips to turn your bathroom into a relaxing sanctuary!

Posted by Corine

I don’t know about you but I spend an awful lot of time in my bathroom… and I love it! Indeed my bathroom is the place dedicated to my well-being where I love to relax and take care of myself. To create that pleasant feel good atmosphere here is a short list of items and tips that every woman should seriously consider!

1. If you want to feel a million bucks after a pampering session in your bathroom, make sure to invest in a few fancy items! I know we do not all have the luxury to spend our hard-earned cash on expensive products but if you focus on buying items that last a while it is well worth the money. Get yourself or receive as a gift a fancy scented candle, body lotion or bath & shower oils, etc. You can use these products once a week for a pampering session on a lazy Sunday morning and I guarantee you that they will add a little extra to the entire experience and lift your mood as, let’s be honest, there is something really satisfactory in indulging in a bit of (affordable) luxury! If I had to pick one brand over another, I would definitely recommend Jo Malone. Their scented candles and bath & shower oils are out of this world and will turn your bathroom into a luxury spa in an instant! My all-time favourite is the Blackberry & Bay Bath Oil. The smell relaxes me as soon as I pour it into the water and it leaves my skin smooth and protected all day long. Pure relaxation! It is not cheap (£42 for 250ml) but it will last months if you only use it once a week. You can always go for a cheaper (but delightful) alternative by turning to the Sanctuary Spa range of products. I personally can’t live without their Gentle Polish Body Scrub (£5.50 for 200ml) – a good price that is most welcome in our household as it is a big favourite of my husband who uses it on a daily basis to scrub his armpits..

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2. Proudly display your best beauty products on the shelves of your bathroom! I can assure you that it will make it look chic, cosy, very feminine and most importantly your own! Maybe it is just me but I love visiting friends and family and see their best products on display, it is fun and interesting to see what other people are using! Of course just look – don’t touch – and do not open their cupboards or drawers as it would be considered to be very rude! Another good reason to display your favourite beauty products is that it will make you use them! Indeed, how easy is it not to be bothered to use or forget about that body lotion you bought a few months ago? Well if it is here right in front of you, you are less likely to ignore it! Same goes for your perfumes, make sure to have them all out to please the eye! Also check-out Domu.co.uk, they do a really cute and convenient beauty caddy for £18.99 – the perfect item to keep your bathroom looking glam and tidy!

3. Now, have you ever seen a spa with mismatched towels made in synthetic fibres? No, I do not think so! Well there is a good reason for that, a lovely and good quality set of towels will make your bathroom look chic and tidy without effort. Most importantly, gentle materials like Egyptian cotton will be kinder on your skin and provide you with that lovely soothing feeling every time you get out of the bath/shower. Of course, the density of one’s towel is a matter of taste and there are many options out there in shops or online to please everyone. My go-to store is most definitely The White Company. They have beautiful high quality products offered at decent prices plus they seem to offer 30% online every other weekend! For more affordable options make sure to check Matalan or H&M Home. They both have fun and lovely designed products for the bathroom and always offer a “luxury” range at a very good price. Matalan has a cute Geo Patterned Bath Towel 100% cotton for £7. Also why not push the luxury to a crazy extent and grab yourself a matching bath mat? Every bathroom should have one and there is no better feeling than rubbing your feet on a brand new or freshly washed fluffy bath mat!

poo pourri 24. Make sure no one spoils the magical atmosphere by dropping some nasty odors in your sanctuary… I am looking at you husbands, partners, flatmates, guests with bad manners or yourself for that matter! Well let me introduce you to Poo~Pourri, the “before you go” toilet spray that virtually eliminates bathroom odours. I was a bit sceptical when I first heard about it but honestly it works wonder! Just spritz the bowl before you go, do what you have to do and the secret blend of essential oils magically trap the nastiness under the water surface and all you are left with is a delicate fruity scent. So wait no longer and grab yourself a bottle (it is also available on Amazon). They have many different scents and my favourites are Original Citrus (lemon + bergamot + lemongrass), Royal Flush (eucalyptus + spearmint) and Potty Potion (rosemary + tea tree + lavender). The packaging is very smart and pretty and looks super chic on top of your toilet. They also do fun gift sets and a miniature spray that fits just right in a handbag! Also make sure to check their ads on YouTube, they are refreshing and hilarious… just like their products!

5. Last but not least, the best advice to keep your bathroom a comforting and relaxing sanctuary is to keep it clean! There are now a tons of “green” bathroom cleaners on the market if you don’t like the effects harsh chemicals have on your health or simply care about the environment. I personally like the Ecover products which are very effective whilst having a minimum effect on the environment. They are also reasonably priced and available in large supermarkets across the UK. Check their website for their full range of products and leave a comment below if you know of a kick-ass eco bathroom cleaner! If you are still not convinced and want to save a few pounds why not make your own natural bathroom cleaner? There are a myriad of tutorials and recipes online to help you get started and the recurring ingredients are kitchen essentials like baking soda, white vinegar, salt and water.

Now, go and enjoy some well-deserved me time in that lovely bathroom of yours!

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