Five Tips For When You Can't Sleep

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I've really struggled to fall asleep for the last couple of nights. Tossing, turning and staring wide-eyed in to the dark have started to feel like my norm, and although I must crash out eventually (because I don't feel too awful when I wake up) getting to the land of nod has been a challenge.

I've had moments like this on an off for most of my life - and this instance is by no means the worst - which also means I have an arsenal of tricks up my sleeve to help me doze off, no sheep required. I also know I'm not the only one who struggles either, so I thought I'd share the tools I'm using right now to get through this tricky time.

1. routine rules - I try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day in a bid to regulate my body clock, it doesn't always work (hello weekend lie in!), but I do notice a difference when I put the effort in. It's also worth making sure your bedroom is a relaxing haven where you really want to go to sleep, when I'm having trouble sleeping I try to clear away any mess in the room and change my bed sheets - after all, nothing is nicer than getting into a freshly made bed! 

2. get outside and get moving - I can't be the only one who remembers being sent out to play in a parental bid to exhaust me, and I continue to apply the same principle today. If I'm having problems sleeping I try to get outside and get moving, even if it's just a walk, simply because it reduces stress and tires me out!

3. smell the flowers - I like a bit of aromatherapy, and essential oils have been part of my 'insomnia SOS' kit for years, but right now I'm especially loving This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. This rather lovely smelling spray is clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed, just spritz some on your pillow before lights out. The only downer is it is not cheap, but a little goes a long way.

4. turn off the tech - this is the one I find hardest, but scrolling through Instagram right before bed isn't going to help achieve a restful night's sleep. Our phones and computers all emit light which essentially tell our brains to 'wake up' when we should be winding down as the dark sets in, plus being constantly connected means our minds are constantly stimulated, and it's so difficult to fall asleep when your mind is consumed by thought. 

5. have sex - this was my Mum's suggestion (are we seeing where I get my propensity towards openness from now?!), but she's on to something. Having sex boosts the production of oxytocin (the cuddle hormone!) and decreases the production of cortisol (which induces stress) leaving you feeling super relaxed and therefore more likely to fall asleep. 

What are your tips for when you just can't sleep?

**image: Anna Rachel Photography