A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Trouble With Sleep - Part 2

The trouble with sleepIn Part 1 of the The Trouble With Sleep I discussed the signs of a poor sleep pattern and how this can contribute to performance in everyday life. I also mentioned that I'd decided to make 2016 the year to tackle my own sleep patterns after being sleep deprived for more years than I care to remember.

In Part 2, I'll be sharing my experiences of taking the 'Wake Up Ready' campaign with Kalms.

For the past three weeks I've tried adopting a few of the lifestyle changes from the list below to make a good night's sleep that little bit less elusive...

10 things you can do to sleep better...

1. Always get up at the same time - even at the weekend.
It might seem like you need a lie-in to make up for sleep you've missed out on, but to break the cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.

2. Avoid catnaps during the day.
It'll only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.

3. Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks.
Alcohol won't help you sleep properly. If you are having trouble cutting out caffeine, set yourself a time in the day beyond which you don't have any.

4. Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles.
Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.

5. Exercise during the day.
Exercising at night will actually make you feel more awake and you'll find it harder to get to sleep.

6. Go to bed at the same time every night.
It'll help your body prepare itself for sleep.

7. Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.
No TV and no smart phones.

8. Alleviate your worries.
Try writing them down before you go to bed.

9. Try a traditional herbal remedy.
Valerian root has been used for centuries due to its natural sedative effect.

10. Don't lie there frustrated.
If you can't sleep, get up and do something (non strenuous) for a while.

Wake up ready

I have to admit to looking at the list and thinking that all the advice was pretty obvious. Didn't I know most of this stuff already? Yes, I think I probably did.

Whether or not I was actually sticking to any of the above before starting the campaign was a different matter. As I'd slept badly while my daughters were at home I felt more sleep deprived than ever and was desperate to give it a try.

During the last three weeks, I have tried to stick to the recommendations and made a few useful discoveries...

1. I already get up at the same time every day (6:30am) which means that I'm ready to go to bed at around 10pm. I try to stay off the laptop after 8pm however, like most rules, this one is sometimes broken.

2. Often when I can't go back to sleep I'm thinking about what needs to be done the following day. So instead of agonising over tasks in the early hours of the morning, I've started to write a list after dinner in the hope that this is one less thing to mull over if I wake up early.

3. Catnaps were probably the hardest habit to break, but in the interests of the campaign I've managed to resist temptation for three whole weeks. Knowing that I'm not taking a catnap to compensate for missed sleep has really helped me to focus on sleeping better at night.

4. As I've been arriving home late from work some evenings, I've forfeited my usual glass of wine and switched to hot chocolate instead.

5. I've learnt that alcohol before bedtime does not make for a restful night's sleep - not that I'm planning on giving up drinking completely.

6. I've also added an extra tip to my good sleep routine and that's to think about five good things that have happened during the day if my mind won't stop thinking about what's not gone so well.

7. I found a bottle of lavender and camomile bath oil at the back of the cupboard and add several drops to my bath water. It's a soothing way to end a hectic day and I guess this adds to the overall feeling of sleepiness.

During the last three weeks I've still had several nights of poor sleep, but each time have managed to identify a cause...

1. A late phone call with worrying news meant that I didn't have time to relax before bedtime and could not go to sleep. I got up and went downstairs to read, rather than logging onto Twitter to chat with fellow insomniac friends. After an hour, I went back to bed and decided that nothing was going to be resolved by my staying awake and being tired the following day.

2. New Year's Eve was a daft time to make a start on the 'Wake Up Ready' campaign... half a bottle of Prosecco plus staying up till 1:45am meant that sleep was fairly elusive.

To conclude, I think that adopting a few of the tips from the list has made a difference to my sleep pattern. If only I persuade my daughters to be quiet while mum's trying to sleep that would be brilliant. Does anyone have any suggestions for sharing a house with older children who seem to inhabit a different time zone to their parents?

The trouble with sleep

Do you have any other great sleeping tips you'd add to the list?

This is a collaborative post.

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton


  1. It sounds like these tips are helping you a bit. I do almost all of these anyway, although my problem is not getting to sleep, or even staying asleep in the middle of the night, it's waking up too early in the morning.
    No idea how you deal with nocturnal daughters! If you find out, do let me know! I struggled a bit over the Christmas holidays when my boys went nocturnal.

  2. I do many of the things on the list, I avoid caffeine and try and avoid naps during the day. I really should have n off time for tablets in the evwning, I am gettinf better, but always sneak a look at some point in the evening xx #PoCoLo

  3. Hi Izzie, my body has a good internal alarm clock, which wakes me up anywhere between six and seven o'clock weekends and all. I really don't mind as first thing on a weekend when the family are asleep is the perfect time to blog (it's amazing how much faster the internet speed is to!).

    When I do wake up in the night I will get a mug of Horlicks in the hope of it helping me drift back off, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but is nice regardless.

    I used to be good about getting off the laptop at a reasonable time, but recently I've not been so good as I'm trying to keep up with blogging stuff. Switching off earlier definitely makes a difference.

    We've not encountered the parent/ child conflicting hours yet as my son doesn't really go out and my daughter only goes out and stays out late very occasionally, but I'm sure it won't be too long before I am cursing her.


  4. These are great tips Izzie, thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo. I think I might adopt the 'getting up at the same time every day, including weekends'. Most days I'm up at 6:30am like you, but at the weekend I stay in bed. I do think it's part of the reason I'm always more tired at the weekend. It sounds counter-intuitive but I think it's true. :)

  5. Definitely agree with not lying there - that can be so frustrating, but it's important to choose what you do when you're up carefully! Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo

  6. I have a notepad by my bed, and by morning it's always full! But I do find it helps me to put things out of my mind once they're on the pad, knowing I can deal with them in the morning. Of course, having other people doing different things in the house never helps - my husband is re-watching all the Star Wars films at the moment after I've gone to bed. That gets in the way of sleep, I can tell you!


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