For as long as I can remember I've had problems sleeping; from actual sleepless nights to taking hours to fall asleep and it's frustrating! I tried tablets, apps, meditation and I even mentioned it to my doctor at one point.
But finally in the past year things have started to improve and a few of the remedies I've tried have actually worked! So today I wanted to share 5 simple ways to induce sleep naturally that may also help you.
On a side note if you are struggling with sleeping problems I think it's worth trying to figure out the root cause, for me that was over thinking when trying to get to sleep which is a very common problem, but for others it may not be as obvious and the cause may be your room temperature is too high, medical issues etc.
1. Take up relaxing reading before bed
I'm sure you've read many a post that's suggested ditching technology before bed or leaving it outside of the bedroom and though I love my phone dearly I have to agree that it does help! But I've found if you really do struggle with going to sleep switching to reading a book may not instantly help as this still can provoke thinking after you've put the book down or you can often read beyond the point of tiredness and then start to feel awake again! So I suggest picking titles that are aimed at mindfulness and being calm or books that are light hearted that you can dip in and out of and of course only reading for a set amount of time - 30 minutes to an hour is about the right amount. My favourite short book that is perfect for relaxing with is The Little Book of Mindfulness (£5.99 Amazon here) as it contains many simple yet wise quotes and a few breathing and relaxation techniques to try out that put you in the right mood to sleep. I also recommend Calm: Calm the Mind (£6.99 Amazon here) which is a joy to read as every page is diffeent and is a perfect book to dip in and out of. But if books with a self help theme don't interest or help you then opt for something that will take your mind off the day and uplift you without causing too many extra thoughts before bed. A personal favourite of mine are the two Goddess Guide books from Gisele Scanlon (Amazon here) as they are so creative and easy to read.
2. Have a bedtime snack of ice cream
Yes, you read that right! Ice cream as a bedtime snack is a totally overlooked sleeping aid as it contains a perfect balance of ingredients that regulate stress hormones to help you sleep. Of course I'm not suggesting you stock up on your favourite Ben & Jerry's flavour here and eat it by the bucket load but a small bowl of a quality vanilla ice cream can really aid sleep as it provides the body with calcium, sugar, salt, protein and fat which as I mentioned reduced stress hormones in the body making it the perfect comfort food to treat yourself to before bed!
3. Take a relaxing bath with oils or epsom salts
Winding down before bed is important and pairing this with essential oils or bath salts can be a winning combination. A warm bath with dimmed lighting can sooth the body of the day's stresses as well as calming the mind but to really aid sleep additional oils and salts can be used. One of the best calming scents is lavender so a bath oil such as the Tisserand Sweet Dreams Bath Oil 100ml (£5.47 Holland & Barrett here) which contains lavender and camomile is a great choice. Just a few drops into a warm bath can transport your head to the right place leaving you fully relaxed for sleep. Alternatively if the scent of lavender isn't you thing then a bath with Epsom salts can help you wind down prior to bed as it's an excellent source of magnesium which can actually induce drowsiness!
If you aren't a bath taking kind of person or you don't have a bath then massaging your skin before bed can be a great alternative to help yourself relax before bed. Again, lavender and magnesium are great for this and can come in the form of oils or even massage candles. For the last month or so I've switched from using a lavender scented body oil to lighting a Treets Velvet Vanilla & Lavender Massage Candle (£11.49 Holland & Barrett here) whilst reading, which gives off a lovely aroma in itself, and then blowing it out and massaging the slightly warmed oil over my skin. This is not only a lovely process but the scent and feel of the oil is really relaxing. Alternatively you can use a simple lavender body oil or magnesium oil if you don't like the scent of lavender.
5. Try out a pillow spray
Lastly I had to include pillow sprays as they really can help so much, much more than I ever expected to be honest! With a general mixture of lavender and camomile, pillow sprays can be sprayed into the air around the bed or directly onto bedding and pillows to promote relaxation. I personally like to spray directly onto my pillow as lavender helps you to take in deeper breaths which can really aid sleep. I can only speak from personal experience but pillow sprays really play a big role in how I relax before bed now. My favourites are the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray 75ml (£16.00 Feel Unique here) or a cheaper alternative, Miaroma Relaxing Lavender Sleep Mist 100ml (£4.69 Holland & Barrett here).
I really hope my tips help if you are struggling with sleep - do let me know!
If you have any relaxation tips that you feel may help others then please do leave them in the comments below.