The Land of Nod.

I spend a lot of money on sleep, which is weird because I think it’s meant to be a free activity. But I’m proud to say, I think I’m an excellent sleeper and 90% of the time I do bounce up on a morning. However, it hasn’t always been like this, I really struggled to sleep through University (apart from hungover naps) and at times of anxiousness and big change, mainly in the months after travelling, it’s like the adrenaline stayed and kept me going even when I was home and settled down. So I guess it’s through these times that I really began to invest in good quality sleep and down time and picked up good habits and products to help which I now struggle to sleep without. I do spend a lot of the day thinking about bed time and the down time before and find it’s so important to keep me feeling balanced and focused and in control of things. Even on nights I’m out till late I’ll still take some time when I get home going through my pre-sleep routine as without it my sleep really isn’t as good and I feel it the next day. I think I’m essentially a high-maintenance toddler with expensive taste.

SO here’s my list of tips for a good nights sleep:

Products:

This Works, Deep Sleep Spray: There’s 3 people in my relationship. Me, Max and my Sleep Spray. I stock-pile it and have travel size bottles for holiday. It really is the product I use the most religiously and can’t live without. I spray into onto my pillows just before putting my head down and it helps to put me into a good quality sleep really quickly. I also have the roll-on version that I put onto my wrists but I do find the pillow spray more effective.

Neom, Scent to Sleep, Scent to Calm and Scent to Destress Range: I count myself as one of Neom’s biggest fans. I use their products throughout the day and use the different scents for different situations, but it’s always the Scent to Sleep, Scent to Destress and Scent to Calm products that are always on my bedside table. I currently have the Destress hand cream, Sleep body oil and the Calm candle on the go. I really swear by them to relax, and although quite spenny they last a while and are worth their money in gold if they work for you and change your mood!

Aromatherapy Diffuser and Essential Oils: This is a new product I’ve thrown into my bedtime ritual but now don’t think I’d be without it! I bought the VicTsing 150ml Diffuser from Amazon for less than £20 and have been very impressed with it! I use a mix of lavender and camomile and clary sage oils on an evening and it makes our room smell like a Spa, it’s a dream! This diffuser has a sleep timer so I leave it going as I fall asleep, its really quiet and releases a cool mist of aroma. This diffuser also has a changing colour light which really adds to the ambience of our bedroom on an evening. (I do always get an eye roll from Max when he walks into our room mid my bedtime ritual- honestly men don’t understand).

Camomile Tea: For a long time I bought very expensive Sleep teabags from expensive brands- I still occasionally do if I’m feeling fancy- but plain old cheap as chips camomile tea does have the save effect. I can’t explain the science behind it but it really works. I think this is the first tip I tried when my mum bought me a box when I was struggling to sleep in my final year of uni and my sleepy tea quickly became s joke in my student house.

Space Masks: Back last autumn when I was going through the anxiety of job applications and interviews I got a little addicted to Spacemasks. I can’t even tell you how amazing they feel and it’s the nicest way to fall to sleep. Spacemasks are single-use eye masks that heat up on your face and release a subtle scent of jasmine, so so lovely. They’re an expensive habit but amazing as a treat, a gift or for people going through a period of insomnia.

Good Habits:

Avoid screen time in the half hour before: This is an obvious one that’s gets repeated so much but It’s true, of course I’m guilty of falling asleep in front of a screen showing netflix but it feels so much better to fall asleep right after reading for half an hour or listening to an audiobook.

Water or Camomile Tea Only: With the exception of weekends I do only drink water or camomile tea in the evening, that way there’s no sugar or caffeine in my system when it’s time to settle down and go to sleep. It seems a bit patronising to even type it but I’ve heard so many people complain of restless sleeping after having a proper brew right before bed.

Positive Thinking and Writing it Down: This might sound a bit too cheesy for some people but honestly give it a go. I have done various forms of this for years and really enjoy doing it right before bed. I have journals I fill out with positive thoughts, I tend to use focus journals with questions for me to answer or bullet points to write lists. It’s just a nice reflective thing to do at the end of the day and leave it on a good note.

Bed for Bed Time: When I was at uni I feel like my life just resolved around my bed, it’s where I spent the day typing assignments, watching netflix and eating snacks and was then struggling to sleep in there on a night. It really was my pit and the centre of my world. It’s gross now to think about it. Now I don’t go to bed, or really even the bedroom, until it’s bed time and feel so much better and sleep so much better because of it. I spend all day looking forward to the moment I get in to bed. Distance really does make the heart grow stronger.

Hunger Games: It’s never good to go to sleep really full and full of carbs, it can make you feel so restless. I try to always eat atleast a couple of hours before I plan to go to sleep so that I am a little bit hungry a bed time. I have occasionally taken it too far and gone to bed starving to the point I don’t sleep at all and end up getting up in the early hours for some cereal, I wouldn’t recommend that. But it is good to wake up in the morning hungry for breakfast and restart your metabolism. (I did study nutrition but this is obviously not official medical advice, just based on things I’ve read and my own experiences!)

Wash that Linen: There’s nothing better in the world than fresh sheets, I tend to do the whole lot every 3 weeks but do wash the pillow cases every weekend (I love the Dream Unstoppables to add to a wash for a lovely lavender scent boost!). I changed our linens around a lot too, we have cotton for spring/summer and heavy brushed cotton for autumn/winter. Sometimes I think how good our bed sheets are is a bad thing, it can make it so hard to get out!

I hope these products and tips prove useful for anyone struggling to settle down on an evening and join the land of nod! Life is hard enough as it without being tired.

Katie.
x

The month of sleep and leftover Christmas chocolate.

Finally, here is my January post! I’ve been so slow to get this post up! What is it with January and needing to sleep 2 hours more than usual and not having the motivation to do anything except eat leftover Christmas chocolate?

January often gets called the most depressing month but I think that’s selling it short a little. The cold and the dark and the Christmas comedown is pretty hard but it’s also a great month for planning, starting new routines and good habits and getting your life in order (a bit).

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions really, I don’t want to give up drinking and I don’t want to think about a summer body until about April but I did have some ideas of things I’d like to work on in 2018:

1. Up the blogging. More posts, better pictures and maybe, just maybe, getting the confidence to do a speaking Instagram story. For months it’s been something I’ve thought about doing and thought it would be so easy but as soon as I turn the front camera on I just can’t.

2. Bedtime routine. I am far from a night owl, often can barely keep my eyes open past 9pm but never really feeling like I’d had a great quality sleep the next morning and often waking up in the night and trying to fall back to sleep for hours with my brain going in overdrive. So this has been my main thing to get sorted, I’d like to be a bit more productive and a little less sleepy. For Christmas I got a set of tester sized deep sleep products from This Works and they are living up to their name! I love the smell of lavender and camomile and a spritz of the pillow spray every night is really improving my quality of sleep. Another thing I’m trying to add to my night time routine is reading. When it’s been a long day and your brain is frazzled it can be hard to get it going again and concentrate on a book so I’ve kept my bedtime reading books quite simple, saving the intense page-turners for the Summer. I’ve also got into the habit of always taking a camomile tea to bed and trying to not check my phone for the last half hour of the day which is a lot easier typed than done! My Neom scent to sleep candle has become my Sunday night treat along with a Space Mask. If you haven’t tried Space Masks I really advice you should! You can buy them in boxes of 5 from the space masks website and for a special occasion (like a Sunday bed time they’re absolutely delightful. They are eye masks that heat up on your eyes, they’re so relaxing and really help you to drift off to sleep. To get going on a morning and start the day on a good foot I’ve been using Neom Mood lifting on the go mist. From previous posts you may have realised I’m quite into my scents and I’m a big believer in scents affecting your mood. This little spray is really working for me, it’s an instant pick me up and even makes the coldest, darkest walks the bus stop a bit brighter.

3. Get my sewing mojo back. There was a time I was on fire and full of ideas of new projects and designs. I was never off the sewing machine and making embroidery hoops like my life depended on it. But as much as I do still love it but it’s hard to fit it in sometimes and when I do I don’t waste time experimenting, I stick to what I know and do it well and with purpose with a customer or an occasion already lined up for it. My half term is just a week away and I’m determined to have a day where I get out all my stuff and get crafting and come up with a plan for the next few months. My poor Etsy shop has been closed since before I went to Australia at the end of 2016 and it’s about time it was brought back to life. Plus I’ve been lucky enough to inherit the dreamiest stash of vintage Liberty fabric which needs some loving!

That’s all for now, it’s getting towards bed time so best get the kettle on for a camomile tea!

Katie x

Migraine troubles.

I thought I’d write this post today because I’m on a Migraine comedown, just at the stage the pain and nausea have gone but at I’m the stage where I feel my stuffing has been knocked out of me and all I feel like doing is some casual typing on the laptop while wrapped up in a blanket.

The reason I had a Migraine this morning? I got locked out my apartment building in my pyjamas and dressing gown and in the pouring rain (I went to collect a parcel and forgot my keys) and the panic was enough to cause too much adrenaline which then gave me a migraine. I kid you not. Don’t worry though it got sorted after like half an hour of me just frantically buzzing every other apartment in the building about 100 times. Glad it got sorted because my next plan was going to be to knock on the door of every house in the street and ask to use their phone to call the police, because I know their number off my heart, I don’t know Max’s (I’m not very good at thinking rationally in a crisis).

But I do get Migraines that easily, anything that gets my adrenaline going for good or bad reasons is pretty much guaranteed to give me one.

As well as:

  • Raw Red Onion- I quite like it but it makes me feel like its made my brain swell to twice the side of my head.
  • Skipping a meal.
  • Time of the month- for pretty much the whole time. Just because feeling like all my organs are falling out isn’t enough apparently.
  • Certain perfumes, really sickly floral ones. I have to run through Debenhams and John Lewis shouting ‘Noo, don’t spritz near me!’ I do love perfumes and sprays but do just need to be fussy about scents!
  • Muggy weather where the air is really ‘close’ just before a storm comes.
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Not enough sleep, too much sleep, waking up in the night, sleeping in a weird position.
  • Hangovers (Obviously), I tend not to get a fuzzy head, just go straight in with the full blown migraine.
  • Not having a cup of tea on morning. This gets me every time, I need the caffeine! When I’ve been travelling and working abroad and tea hasn’t been readily available first thing on a morning I have managed to wean myself off it but when I’m at home, I’ve got to have a brew first thing!

Obviously some of these things I just have to avoid but some are unavoidable. Luckily I am prescribed really strong tablets which can sort me out within an hour, they just leave me feeling really sleepy and achey. But sometimes these tablets need a bit of a boost to get going (I’ve learnt this is because your metabolism slows down so much when you’re having a migraine) or sometimes, because of how they make me feel after, It’s just not really a good time to take one so have to think of some other ways to try release the pressure in my head.  Teaming up Ibuprofen and Cocodamol can work but needs to be teamed some more natural remedies too so heres some I’ve discovered really work:

  • When I get Migraines I feel really sick and lose my appetite but I do really really crave certain things. All the good stuff, starch, sugar and salt. I just ignored it but my Doctor told me I was daft to do so as my body is telling me that’s what it needs. And giving in to these cravings does really help get me back to normal quicker and eating does get your metabolism going again. The things I always go for are Cola (HAS to be full fat, the artificial sugars they use in diet options are renowned for making migraines worse and for some reason has a quicker effect when drank from a can?). Really salty nuts or crisps or McDonald’s fries, I never fancy these unless I have a migraine. Tangfastics, I keep a bag at the back of kitchen cupboard for Migraine emergencies, all the sugar just really helps the tablet kick in. Max is now well enough trained to know when I frantically rip open a bag of tangfastics to not think I’m really letting myself go and give me a judging look or say ‘tea’s in a hour, why you snacking?’, he just knows I must be feeling pretty shit. They’re a weird one though, for some people all the sugar makes them feel so much worse but for me, I literally see it as part of my medication and is guaranteed relief.
  • Acupuncture yoga mat. You might just need to really trust me on this one. I first read about them online when I was really struggling with Migraines when I lived in Italy and had to use my tablets so sparingly and the local shop didn’t have tangfastics. My tablets were available through the pharmacy there but were SO expensive I only bought them once in a really desperate situation. But once I had the acupuncture mat they really settled down. I still use it a lot now when I’ve taken a tablet but desperately trying to get it to work quicker. It’s basically just a yoga mat with loads of really sharp plastic spikes on it. Whenever I have a go without a Migraine I can’t stand it but standing on it or doing a few simple yoga moves on it when I have got a migraine really really works to quickly release the pressure. Theres a lot of science behind how it works and blood flow, hormones etc, but I would just really recommend, they’re available on amazon and not very expensive.
  • A trick I read about on a forum once, which I have found really works, is putting your feet into really hot water while draping a frozen flannel around your neck. It releases the blood thats in your head causing all the pressure and is quite an instant relief, If you’re struggling and need a quick fix I would give this one a go.
  • Olbas oil! It particularly works well if you dash some in the bottom of your shower, it creates vapour steam which makes your head feel clearer and generally a lot fresher! I’m also a big fan of wax melts for home fragrance and minty/eucalyptus ones can help too! Just like if you’re all bunged up with a cold!
  • The obvious one: going to sleep, having a nap, or atleast just lying down! I’m a rubbish napper, even when I really need to I really struggle to, but I usually listen to a relaxing playlist of an audiobook to help me chill out a bit.
  • Fresh air! The last thing you fancy with a migraine is going outside but just sitting on my balcony for a bit really helps!

So there’s a few tips I’ve found can help! Obviously everyones bodies are different and will react differently but when you’re in that much pain and anything is worth a shot!

If you have any of your own please share via the comments or emailing me at katiejade92@yahoo.com. I’ll add them to the list and they may help a migraine sufferer out!

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