Is anyone else really feeling the winter this year? I’m normally a winter lover; snuggling up with a hot choc in front of the fire is my idea of bliss, but even I’m flagging by now and fantasising about packing up and moving to sunny Spain (seriously, I’ve been on the Internet looking and I’ve even become hooked on A Winter Place in the Sun!!).
What with endless rounds of bugs, post Christmas bloat, lack of motivation to go out and exercise due to the mainly cold and drizzly weather – winter in the UK can feel like an almighty slog come February. So it’s even more important at this time of year to take extra care or ourselves. Now, I’m not about to suggest a drastic new exercise routine, or a radical change in diet (listen, my body is made up of about 17% crumpet at this time of year and a daily dog walk is all the exercise I can muster right now), but instead I think we go with the winter hibernation instinct and just take better care of ourselves.
Boots got in touch to ask me if I’d like a box of goodies to help boost my wellness at this tricky time of year. Erm, YES PLEASE! I said, rather embarrassingly quickly. I’m a Boots girl, hand on heart. Every month or so, I head to my local branch and stock up on face wash, moisturiser, make up, bath and shower goodies, multivitamins, and any medical things I need. My Advantage card is looking like an ancient well loved artifact I’ve had it that long. I LOVE Boots, and I especially like that you can fulfill all aspects of wellness there, from family planning (bought every single pregnancy test I’ve ever had from there!), to indulging the senses, to perking up your make up bag, to keeping your family well (my kids have a Boots multivitamin every day without fail).
So when they invited me to use these goodies in a wellness boosting post for you lovely people, I immediately wanted to focus on sleep. I’ve suffered over the years with terrible sleep problems. I have them under control now, but I was an insomniac for years until I learned about sleep hygiene. Even if you’re not an insomniac I really urge you mums out there to take one evening this week to indulge yourself and relax – then prepare for the best night’s sleep ever. When you’ve slept well, you really do feel like you can take on the world! Even if it’s 2 degrees and raining again.
Here are my top tips for the best night’s sleep ever (I cannot guarantee that one of your kids will wake you up, sorry about that):
1. Fresh sheets and cover
Most people don’t change their bedsheets enough as we’re all so busy, so on this special night I encourage you to have freshly washed sheets and covers on (ironing optional, see below picture) – as freshly laundered bed covers really add to the relaxation and luxurious feel.
2. Quick tidy of your room
Quickly declutter and tidy your room if you have time – even if that means for one night shifting some bits to another room. I find a decluttered room to be so much more peaceful.
3. Decide on a bedtime and stick to it
This is key. Work out how many hours’ sleep you need. 7? 8? Most people need about 8. So reverse back from when you need to wake up. And start this indulgent routine an hour before, beginning with the bath. So if your bedtime is 10pm as you rise at 6am, then get in the bath at 9pm, with lights out at bang on 10pm. The biggest difference to my sleep was made when I did the same thing every night. When you aren’t doing this bedtime spa routine then simply start winding down at 9.30pm instead. Get it? It’s not rocket science, but sticking to it, if you’ve been used to scrolling aimlessly on your phone or watching rubbish on TV can be alluring and it’s devastating to your sleep quality. Remember to add on half an hour if you are someone that takes a while to drop off.
4. Turn your phone off
If you don’t want to turn it off, simply leave it downstairs. This is a great rule of thumb anyway. I leave mine downstairs and also I try not to look at it past 9pm. It is scientifically proven to set your mind whirring. I know that it really affects me if I look on social media too late at night. Whatever you do, do not take it into your bedroom. Worst. Idea. Ever. If you currently do that, why not set a resolution to not do from now on?
5. Enjoy a candlelit bath
Once the kids are down and all is fairly peaceful, instead of sitting and staring at the TV or scrolling through your phone, run yourself a lovely bubble bath (lavender-scented oils and foams are particularly useful for aiding sleep) and use some nice products. I suggest a face mask, as you pop it on and chill, i.e. there’s no work involved. The Sanctuary range is fab. I used a Moisture Boost one. Light a candle too and turn the lights off. Again, this Sanctuary one in it’s Signature fragrance, is divine.
6. Put on fresh PJs
Again, fresh, clean clothes will do wonders for your enjoyment. This might be your house but it can still feel like a spa!
7. Enjoy a warm drink
I like honey and lemon using this amazing Manuka Honey from Boots, or maybe a milky drink or a herbal tea is more your thing. Just to add, to avoid caffeine – and alcohol – all afternoon to really enjoy a deep night’s sleep. I drink decaf tea now as standard – I know, I’m so rock n’ roll.
8. Spray your pillow
A sleep spray is a really nice addition to any bedtime routine. The relaxing smell will become a trigger for your body to wind down if you use it every night. This Boots Sleepeaze one is just right – it doesn’t smell like furniture polish but instead gives a real feel of a spa. Another tool in your armory if you feel frazzled is tongue drops from Rescue Remedies.
9. Read a book
Reading before bed is proven to help you unwind and become sleepy, so much so that many people can’t keep their eyes open past a page! Choose gentle novels or factual books – not disturbing thrillers or real life crime to avoid bad dreams. I read every night and it’s the key that always gets me off to sleep. I love reading light and frothy chick lit or conversely the classics.
10. Consider an eye mask and ear plugs
I have an eye mask for when I stay away, but I don’t use one at home, however they are so useful if your room is light – likewise for ear plugs if you live somewhere noisy or your partner snores!
I hope these tips are useful – do let me know if you utilise them and what your favourite Boots wellness products are the moment. Here are some more links to wellness and also sleeping better on the Boots website:
Disclaimer: This post is in conjunction with Boots but all thoughts are my own. All links are no follow.