Sleep can be a tricky concept to master for some, especially during times of stress, such as lockdown. We all know we need it, and we all know that too little can have a detrimental effect on health - as can too much. Good quality shut-eye is known to help with everything from mental health to skin and productivity as well as weight control, but it's often easier said than done particularly right now, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
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There will be times in life where you drift right off and wake up eight hours later - having not woken up once - feeling like a bionic woman ready for the day ahead. But there will also be times, no matter how many sheep you've counted, that you just cannot switch off, and therefore lie wide awake fretting that you're lying wide awake.
Best ways to fall asleep quickly
How can you fall asleep quickly? Well there are some mental techniques that will help you doze off fast. (Scroll down to read the how-to!) And, if you need a bit more help, there are plenty of fantastic products that will help you get a great night's sleep, whether you usually drift off easily or not.
Many retailers have done the edit for you – we love Cult Beauty's section dedicated to sleep, with everything from natural sleep supplements to aromatherapy candles and satin pillowcases. And we've put together our own list of the best things you can buy to help you get a good night's rest. Here’s what we’re buying...
Best products to help you sleep
Natural sleep remedies to relax your mind and body
Bach Rescue Night, £9.31, Amazon
A natural treatment dating back decades, Bach's Rescue Remedy is now available in 'Night' form to help you ease into sleep. Combining the five original flower essences discovered by Dr Bach in 1930, plus White Chestnut to help relax the mind, a few drops on your tongue is all you need.
A heated eye mask
Sensory Retreats Divine Eyes self heating eye masks (pack of 7), £21, Amazon
The Sensory Retreats Self-Heating Sleep Mask is designed to help you naturally drift off into a deeply relaxing slumber. Use any time, any place, or anywhere you require snooze-inducing darkness. It’s perfect if you’re a restless sleeper or struggle with broken sleep patterns. The cosy compress gently hugs the eyes, perfect for enjoying as part of your bedtime routine.
A meditation to help you sleep
Have you considered using a mindfulness and meditation app? The ever-popular Calm is a tried and tested sleep tool - whether you want to try a guided visualisation or listen to a celebrity-narrated sleep story to drift off. Trust us, there's no better way to fall asleep than to Matthew McConaughey's soothing Southern drawl…
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A weighted blanket to lessen anxiety
Silentnight Weighted blanket, £69.99, Amazon
Meet your new sleep saviour and snuggle partner, the calming Silentnight Weighted Blanket. Created by experienced sleep experts, the Weighted Blanket is designed to ease stress and anxiety by relaxing both the body and mind with deep-touch pressure stimulation. The blanket quite literally hugs you into a calming and restful sleep as the 6.8kg of weight comforts your nervous system to make you feel safe and grounded. The carefully designed weight within the blanket comes from thousands of small glass beads stitched within, for an even spread of gentle, soothing pressure. Sounds dreamy, right?
Soothing bath & shower oils to wind down
Kneipp Lavender Bath Oil, £22, Amazon
HELLO!'s Head of Lifestyle Leanne swears by Kneipp Bath Oil for having a blissful night's sleep. The trick? Having a bath and going to bed soon after. Don't let yourself awaken by watching TV or looking at your phone.
Ouai Chill Pills Bath Bombs, £25, ASOS
Chill Pills are bath bombs filled with lush oils to transform your boring bath into a dreamy escape. Take some well-deserved me-time and soak up with a blend of hemp, jojoba and safflower seed oil.
Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax shower oil, was £49 now £38.80, Amazon
Aromatherapy Associates’ essential oils are some of the best around. Add a few drops of this into a bath before you go to bed and you’ll fall into a lovely, relaxed slumber. We recommend a good book, too!
A memory foam pillow for comfort
Amazon Basics memory foam pillow, £30.99, Amazon
There's nothing quite like a good pillow to help you drift off. Some are even so attached to their own that they travel with it on holidays and work trips! While there are many different materials to choose; firm polyester to soft feather materials, a memory foam pillow can help provide neck and back support that literally moulds itself around your head. Plus, this two-in-one design from Amazon even offers one breathable side for summer, and one soft and warm side for winter.
A mattress topper to relax you
Synthetic Soft and Light Mattress Topper, £40, John Lewis
A quality mattress topper can make all the difference when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. By improving your sleeping environment, you're likely to find yourself drifting off to sleep much quicker. This light and airy John Lewis option boasts five-star reviews, with one happy customer branding it an "absolute luxury... I slept like a dream!".
A silk pillowcase for a luxurious sleep
Slip Silk Pillowcase in Desert Rose, £85, LookFantastic
The Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase is designed to resist ageing and sleep-creases as you slumber - and it'll just make you feel super relaxed as you lay your head down. Crafted from long fibre mulberry silk, the pillowcase helps reduce friction to minimise stretching or tugging at our facial skin. Its smooth, luxurious surface may also prevent hair tangling and damage through the night.
Aromatherapy to calm the senses
This Works Deep Sleep pillow spray, £19.50, Lookfantastic
A pillow spray infused with calming scents can have more of an effect that you’d imagine. This Works has created the perfect blend of lavender, vetiver and wild chamomile oil to help you wind down when you get into bed.
ESPA Restorative Candle, £35, John Lewis
What's more relaxing than a great candle? One of our favourites is the ESPA Restorative Candle. The hand-poured aromatherapy candle is designed to "rebalance and comfort" with lavender, rose geranium, sweet orange and palmarosa.
Neom Wellbeing Pod Essential Oil Diffuser, £89.85, FeelUnique
A diffuser is a more pricey buy, but it means you’ll be able to ditch your expensive candle habit! This Neom diffuser is a bestseller – simply add water, a few drops of your favourite essential oil, and watch the calming fine mist of scented vapour fill your room.
Herbal tea to calm and stabilise your energy
Clipper Organic Sleep Easy tea infusion bags, £9, Amazon
This delicious tea has cinnamon, chamomile, valerian and other natural herbs enhanced with natural orange flavouring to help you feel sleepy before bed. Make it one of the last things you do in your evening routine.
Body lotion for soothing self-care
Neal's Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Body Lotion, £18.60, LookFantastic
People swear by this cult body lotion, which can be used before bed to help you fall into a comfortable sleep. Enriched with essential oils, the cream is deliciously scented by a calming blend of Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Clary Sage to inspire relaxation. Finally, Organic Olive Oil and Pumpkin Seed intensely hydrate the skin, locking in moisture to ensure softness.
Amend your room temperature
Aisling Moran, BSc Nutritional Scientist at Thriva tells us how we can improve our sleep. "If your bedroom is too hot or too cold it can interfere with your sleep. So just like Goldilocks, you need to find a temperature that hits the sweet spot. Aim for a room temperature between 18° to 24°C."
Best pyjamas to sleep in
Double-cotton pyjamas, £65, The White Company
If you've ever slept in uncomfortable pyjamas, you'll know how it can really affect your sleep. Granted, it's a personal choice, but now it's getting warmer, a pair of shorts might be preferable to long pyjamas.
Nice bed linen
Linen bed linen, from £90, LaRedoute
Similarly, lighter, cooler bed linen could help you with your sleep. LaRedoute sells 100% linen bedding and it could really make a difference - give it a try.
Earbuds to help you sleep
Bose Sleep Ear Buds, £220, QVC UK
The Sleep Buds from Bose are designed to help cover excess noise while you sleep with carefully selected audio for a relaxing, unwinding bedtime experience. There's also a playlist of soothing sounds from the Sound Library delivered straight into your ears should you want it.
How to fall asleep in just two minutes: The best sleep trick
And if these genius products aren't enough? The decades-old sleep trick of the American army is something you must try if you're struggling. Coming from people who have to snooze off in the most challenging of conditions – we're all ears.
Published in Relax and Win: Championship Performance, by Lloyd Bud Winter, which is about how athletes relax ahead of competitions, the age-old trick claims you can get to sleep in just two minutes and has a staggering 96 per cent success rate.
The trick involves relaxing, visualising and repeating all in 120 seconds and this is how it works:
Step 1: Relax the muscles in your face, including the jaw, tongue and those around the eye.
Step 2: Let your shoulders drop, and relax both sides of the upper and lower arm.
Step 3: Breathe out, keeping the chest relaxed.
Step 4: Relax both the upper and lower parts of your legs.
Step 5: Then follow those steps with a visualisation.
Imagine: Lying in a canoe on a calm lake with nothing except blue skies circling you.
or: Being snuggled up in a black velvet hammock in a dark room. Next, you have to repeat this phrase:
Step 6: Say "don't think, don't think, don't think" for about 10 seconds.
Always worth giving your bed buddy the heads up if you are up for trying the ritual or they might just look a little confused when you start chanting "don't think"...
Will you give it a shot?
MORE WAYS TO STAY BALANCED DURING LOCKDOWN:
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30+ productive things you can do if you're restless
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