Sleeping used to be my superpower. I could switch off like a light. I didn’t even need to be tired. I could go to sleep even if I was just bored. Even stress, which often keeps people up at night, made me want to sleep even more. It’s only recently I’ve become a true believer in the importance of a good sleep routine.
Over the past five years or so, sleep hasn’t been so easy. Dealing with uncomfortable pregnancies and babies who won’t sleep through the night, getting a good night’s sleep is even more important to me. I find it more difficult to switch off than I used to, especially as I work in to the early hours quite often.
The quality of my sleep also has a huge effect on my migraines. If I don’t get enough sleep, or get woken up too often, or even if the room is warm, I end up with a migraine the next morning.
So, last year we decided to reclaim our bedroom from the side-sleepers and piles of baby clothes. So we a clear-out, a bit of a redecorate, and tried to make our bedroom our own again.
I think that since we’ve made some changes to our bedroom and nighttime routine, we’ve both benefited from better sleep.
Get a good mattress
In January, our mattress had well and truly given up the ghost. It was old and uncomfortable. So, we did some research on the internet and went with an Emma mattress. I was a bit worried I would find the memory foam too hot but it hasn’t been a problem at all. It is by far the best mattress we’ve ever had. It’s medium-firm but still feels soft. The quality of our sleep has definitely been improved and I don’t wake up with any aches and pains. These mattresses can be pretty pricey though so I’d recommend waiting until there’s an offer on like we did.
I take a number of supplements to help with my migraines, including magnesium and vitamin B complex. Having my migraines under control is better for my sleep patterns and better sleep means I have fewer headaches. It’s a virtuous circle.. I have friends who swear by melatonin or CBD for sleep, and it works really well for them.
Develop a wind-down routine
In the last few years, I’ve just tended to collapse in a heap on the bed at the end of the day. Usually not even taking off my makeup (if I’d even bothered to put any on). Running around after small kids while trying to run my freelance business too just didn’t give me much time for anything. Thankfully, I’ve started to make time for myself in the evening, even if it’s just half an hour before bed. I’ll either have a nice hot bath or get into bed with a cup of tea (decaf) and read a book. At the weekends, we tend to watch the TV for a few hours. I know they recommend you don’t have a TV in your room but we like having one in there as every other TV is hardwired to CBeebies or Blippy.
Keeping bedroom cool
This is where Scott and I differ. I like to have a bedroom as cold as possible when I go to sleep. We have a powerful pedestal fan which we have on almost every night and I have the windows open most of the year too. If I have a migraine, or I’m feeling the heat, I have a drawer full of gel icepacks which I wrap a muslin cloth around and lie on.
Now I realise that I might like it a bit colder than most people, but there is research to suggest that sleeping in a cooler room helps you reach a deeper level of sleep, making you feel more rested when you wake up.
So, this is what has worked for me over the past year. Of course, my kids often have other ideas, but I’m hoping they’ll grow out of that soon enough and I finally get my nights back.