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!

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Your New Shower Routine

Posted by Carole

What is more comforting than a hot shower in the morning to help you wake up gently and start your day on the bright side? A cold shower!

Yes, you read me well and you might hate me for saying this but cold showers should be part of your daily morning routine. I’ll explain…

Taking a cold shower is way more beneficial for our body and mood than a hot shower.

  • A cold shower stimulates and reinforces the immune system.
  • It helps maintain hydrated and glowing skin & hair but also the elasticity of the skin, which plays a big part in fighting orange peel skin.
  • It activates blood circulation and helps reduce heavy legs syndrome as well as the appearance of varicose veins.
  • It has a detoxifying effect provoked by the contraction of blood and lymph vessels.
  • It stimulates weight loss.
  • It eases stress and relieves depression symptoms thanks to cold receptors on the skin’s surface, which send an incredible amount of electrical impulses to the brain when they are in contact with cold water.

These benefits are impressive and talk for themselves but let’s be honest, who has the courage to face a cold shower early and bright in the day?!

I tried it a few times but it was just too aggressive and soul crushing for me so I adapted it to a routine a little more acceptable and today I’ll give you my tips to ease into it slowly and gently but still benefit from the positive effects.

  1. You should always shower at warm temperature and keep the cold stream for the end, when you’re clean and ready to jump in your towel!
  1. For the first few weeks (two to four weeks depending on how you react) you can finish your daily shower with a stream of cold water directed at your feet and legs up to your knees. Gradually decrease the temperature of the water if you think you won’t like the “cold effect” surprise and keep the timing short (not too short though, two seconds don’t count!) You should notice results very quickly if not immediately as your feet and legs will feel a lot lighter than usual.
  1. After a few weeks, when you feel at ease with this routine and are convinced cold showers are actually worth the effort, you can follow the same process as above but this time wet your thighs and bottom too and don’t decrease the water temperature too slowly to benefit from an invigorating whiplash effect! You can also stay under the water a little longer, up to a minute should suffice as you don’t want to freeze to death either. You’ll notice that your thighs will turn a nice pink colour, proof that you’ve just boosted your blood circulation and are giving this bloody cellulite a hard time. You’ll also notice a spectacular change in your skin texture that will be a lot smoother and tighter than usual as if you had just exfoliated.
  1. Continue with the “feet to booty” routine for another couple of weeks before taking it further up to your belly then wait another couple of weeks before moving up to your arms and boobies! Yes, boobies! I know the idea hurts but c’mon, who doesn’t want perky boobies? We all do so what you need to do is start your cold shower routine with your feet and legs then up to your bottom and belly then bend forward a little and direct the water stream to your arm up to your shoulder bone, carefully do one arm at a time so you don’t shower past your shoulder onto your clavicle, chest and back. You’ll see that it’s not as painful as it sounds and it actually feels quite good after the first few seconds, just like when you finally get into sea water on your holiday and feel strangely exhilarated.

Now for the gutsy ones, you can direct the cold stream to your chest as in boobies and up to your collar bones but don’t go above onto your neck and face. I mean you’re welcome to try but I find it unnecessarily painful and prefer to focus my efforts on the chest. Keep it short as a few seconds suffice to refine your pores and boost circulation then direct the water stream back to your legs and feet to finish.

Note that I don’t cold shower my hair as they look shiny enough to me and I find it makes them all tangled but if I were to do it I would use the bend forward approach here as well to target the length and tips only!

This step by step cold shower is less aggressive and more bearable than the harsh full body version but you’ll be able to notice the numerous long lasting benefits very quickly and distinctly, from a smoother & tighter skin to an uplifting effect on your mood.

I’ve personally become addicted to my cold shower routine and don’t feel ready to face the day without it, plus it kind of gives me a feeling of accomplishment and resilience early in the morning which, according to psychologists, is excellent for self-esteem!

Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own health tips with the Frinnies community!