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Today it’s World Sleep Day, with a slogan of ‘Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life’. Which is ironic, because as a mum you spend your entire life nurturing life, and for this exact reason you never sleep soundly. So for us nurturing life never seems to go hand-in-hand with sleeping soundly, ta Mother Nature.
I seriously can’t remember ever fretting over sleep before I became a mother. How much I’m getting, how much I’m missing, where the next fix is coming from. I’m like a drug addict, desperately jonesing to see the inside of her eyelids again (OH! the beautiful darkness of the inside of my eyelids. It’s my favourite view).
When I moved house I decided it was time to be a bit more strategic in my pursuit of sleep. No more would I wail over not getting enough, feeling frustrated and tired while not actually doing anything about it. Oh no – it was time to get real and invest some time in improving my time and quality of shut-eye.
Unfortunately none of these suggestions will help silence a 4 year old who would just rather not go to bed, but hopefully they’ll work for you.
Build your bed
I don’t mean literally build your bed (though this will probably happen – thanks, flatpack), but really consider the parts of the piece of furniture you sleep on. I’d spent my twenties buying whichever combination of IKEA bed and mattress was kindest to my wallet, but moving into the era of better quality sleep I wanted to focus on buying the bed and mattress that was kindest to my body.
After a lot (a lot) of deliberation – I wanted the most minimalist bed I could find – I decided to go for the Tatsuma in King Size from Habitat. It was surprising how much more comfortable this was, even without switching my old mattress out. It’s nice and high and does exactly what I wanted it to do: I’ve been thrilled with it ever since.
Next up was the mattress. There have been a whole slew of companies producing new-era mattresses in a box lately (and there are loads of places you can look if you’re in the market for a double sided mattress) but I wasn’t sure that was what I wanted. I was going for a hotel feel with my new bed: I wanted pocket sprung, cashmere and silk over memory foam.
In the end I went for the Diamond mattress from the Hilary Devey Collection by Duvalay. It is UH-MAY-ZING. SO GOOD. The right amount of hardness, the right amount of softness. Swappable sides for summer and winter, a hand-stitched border and, this is so cool, it was made to order just for me! I top mine with a supersoft mattress enhancer from John Lewis and it is seriously like slipping into a cloud each time I get into bed.
It took a while to get used to a slightly harder sleeping surface (my old IKEA mattress had become a bit soft in its old age) but I can hand-on-heart say with this bed/mattress combo I have ever had, I’ve never enjoyed such good-quality sleep and it really is the mattress that was kindest to my body. Highly recommended.
Consider your bedroom
“If you’re having trouble sleeping, you should evaluate your bedroom as if you’ve never seen it before,” says Lisa Artis of the Sleep Council to the Telegraph. “Many of us are unknowingly sleeping in a bedroom that’s simply not fit for purpose, and could be the key cause of a restless night. Even just relocating the laundry basket, stacking up some books or blitzing your bedside table can make a real difference.”
I try not to have anything out in my bedroom, bar a couple of books, some flowers and a some bits of make-up: it’s a room for sleep so anything in it must be conducive to that. I have to be pretty strict with myself on a daily basis, but by eliminating all clutter from my room (this includes any kind of TV/distracting entertainment systems) I sleep noticeably better.
I’m always up for trying anything that might increase the quality of my sleep, so when I heard Hollie of YesMum recommend a binaural sound app called Brain Wave I thought I may as well give it a go.
Well, I don’t know how the thing works, but it’s INCREDIBLE. I use the deep sleep setting for an hour as I’m drifting off and I wake up in the morning feeling much fresher than I used to: actually ready to get up. It’s brilliant!
I’m also a fan of the Headspace app for relaxing before bed (as well as helping me to sleep on flights); the app’s founder has the most soothing of all voices and I love snoozing to his dulcet tones.
Read a book
I struggle daily with the fact there are so many amazing things to watch on Netflix, but I only have a limited amount of time. I genuinely worry that I might not be able to watch everything I want to watch in my lifetime (the struggle is real, folks).
But, as much as I’d like to, bedtime is not the time to be partaking in a Gilmore Girls marathon… bedtime is the time I should be reading books! When I read before going off to sleep it leaves me drifting off a lot easier than if I’ve watched an emotionally-charged episode of The Good Wife. As much as it pains me to say it.
What are your tips for a good nights sleep?