Here’s our guide to winding down for a restful night, whatever else is going on in your life.
What’s your sleep persona?
Most of us have sleepless nights from time to time, but for some, poor sleep is feature of daily life. We’ve come up with some sleep tips to suit different lifestyles. Which one is most similar to you? Live now, sleep later Hard work or a hectic social calendar keeps you up late. Working 9 to 5(am) Shift work, international travel or late and early meetings mean your sleep pattern is irregular. Permanently switched-on parent Caring for a new baby means your sleep is broken most nights. Stressed-out sleeper Daily pressures leave you tense and restless in the evenings.
Live now, sleep later
- Get ready for bed, no matter how late it is A bedtime routine can help you relax and get your mind and body in the mood to rest. Make sure you go through your usual steps, including removing makeup, cleansing and moisturising, before you go to bed. A basicevening skincare routine [SC1]will leave your skin clean and moisturised, giving it the ideal environment for its natural renewal and regeneration process overnight. It might take you an extra 5 minutes but you’ll be glad you did in the mornin
- Switch off from screens Blue-toned light from smartphone and tablet screens can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythms when you use a smartphone or tablet in the evenings or while lying in bed, as your eyes interpret this type of light as meaning it’s morning. So if you tend to come in from a late night and then spend time on your phone, computer or tablet chilling out or catching up on messages, you could be compromising the quality of your sleep.
- Catch up on sleep - Research suggests that a lie-in on the weekend can help you catch up after a week of sleep deprivation, but it won’t completely replace the sleep you should have had. So should you break your regular routine in order to have a lie-in, or is it better to stick to the waking and sleeping timetable your body is used to? If you’re burning the candle at both ends, a lie-in may be a welcome opportunity to switch off and relax, even if it doesn’t fully top up your sleep requirements. Whether you choose to take one depends on how you feel – or whether you’d prefer to squeeze in a nap or two during the weekend.
Working 9 to 5(am)
Shift work, jet-lag or an irregular schedule can lead to poor-quality sleep, as your internal body clock is disrupted by early and late starts. This can impact your skin’s renewal processes too, especially if you aren’t asleep between midnight and 1am, the skin’s peak regeneration period. [SA1] · Keep light levels low. Buy blackout curtains or sew in blackout lining to block out daylight from your bedroom, and avoid sources of blue light such as tablet and smartphone screens which mimic morning. Your body may interpret this kind of light as a signal to rise and shine. · Consider earplugs. Noise levels are higher during the day, whether due to traffic noise, voices or household sounds. To help you get into your own little sleep zone, try soft earplugs to shut out the world. · Set a regular sleep routine. Going through a simple bedtime routine, including the crucial skincare steps[SA2] of cleansing and moisturising, will help your mind and body get ready for sleep, no matter what it says on the clock.
Permanently switched-on parent
New parents will dimly remember what it was like to have a full night’s sleep on a regular basis, although it might now seem like a distant dream. If you’re caring for a small baby who wakes regularly for feeds, your sleep pattern will probably involve lots of broken nights and short sessions of sleep while your baby naps. Sleep tips:
1. Nap effectively so you make the most of the sleep you do get. Research suggests that even a 10-minute nap can benefit your fatigue levels and cognitive performance, and napping for 20 or 30 minutes can create longer-lasting benefits – although if you sleep for more than 20 minutes you’ll wake up feeling groggy. To get the most from nap-time, draw the curtains and make sure the bedroom is cool and quiet.
2. Share shifts with your partner or family members, so you’ll know you can switch off and sleep for a few hours. When you do get some time to yourself to rest, go through your bedtime routine to relax yourself and get your mind and body ready to rest.
3. If you can’t sleep, don’t lie awake worrying about how you should make the most of the rest-time you have. Get up, do something else and wait until you feel sleepy again.
4. Find a skincare routine that works for you. When time is so precious a complex skincare routine may not be viable anymore, but try to create an easy evening routine [SA1]that you can stick to. This will help relax you before bed and your skin will thank you in the morning
If you find yourself lying awake for no reason you can put your finger on, or your thoughts turn to plans, questions and worries when you shut your eyes, you’re not alone – many of us struggle to switch off at the end of the day.
1. Breathing techniques are a great way to shift your body into relaxation mode – allowing your mind to follow. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, hold for four, then exhale for four. You should soon find yourself feeling physically relaxed, allowing drowsiness to take hold.
2. Keep your bedroom stress-free by leaving smartphones, tablets and laptops at the door. Turn off the TV, too. To help you drift off, try reading a book or listening to music.
3. Make your bed a nice place to be. Treat yourself to a pillow mist with a soothing scent or some new bed linen that feels crisp and fresh. If your mattress has seen better days, consider investing in a new one, or adding a mattress topper.
4. Concentrate on something. Distracting your mind with a simple but absorbing mental task (like counting sheep) can help you detach from any worries or preoccupations. Try naming every character in your favourite film, remembering the dates of family and friends’ birthdays or thinking of a different animal for every letter of the alphabet.