I am one of the millions of people worldwide, that has trouble sleeping. Anything from sleeping awkwardly and causing aches and pains, or simply from having to count sheep, because I can’t nod off. Sometimes I can sleep and sometimes I can’t, which is extremely problematic for my health. Lack of sleep is a big trigger for my epilepsy, and not getting enough sleep or recovery, has a knock-on effect for the day ahead, both work and training. With this in mind I was delighted to be part of the TEMPUR®, Be Kind To Your Mind campaign. The idea that by unwinding before bed will help aid a good night’s sleep. 

The mind is just as important as the body

We take care of our bodies with exercise, and nourish it with good foods, so why don’t we prioritise our minds too? Mindfulness is hugely important for our overall wellbeing, so today I’m going to share some of my tried and tested methods to practicing this before sleep.

Why is it important?

I watched an excellent video recently from a neurologist who explained in great detail how impactful our mind is on our body. To summarise, if we stub our toe the mind sends a reaction to warn us not to do that again. When we feel blue, our body reacts too, we respond by feeling fatigue and often visually, our posture becomes slumped. If we listen to our minds when they are telling us negative things all the time, the body responds too. Our whole posture, our presence, and our reactions to things, including how we handle thoughts, become negative too. 

What has this got to do with sleeping better? Our thoughts don’t just switch off when it comes to bedtime, subconsciously or consciously they are sat with us. We often carry negative thoughts or stress, bundled up from the day. I’ve often gone to bed feeling so mentally clogged up, I’ve laid awake for hours not knowing how to process everything. Instead, I just felt awful about myself, ultimately leading to a poor night’s sleep. 

How can we fix this so we can sleep better?

I mentioned before that we look after our bodies, but we forget about the mind, right? Over the years I’ve learnt to treat bedtime like I would my daytime routine. If I ignore a bedtime routine, I won’t mentally switch off, meaning neither will my body. I used to dive into bed after a long day and assume tiredness would take over and I’d sleep soundly. I was very wrong! The more you store up top, the more likely you’re not going to relax. 

My sleep routine

I like to take the pace down before I go to bed, so I try to avoid electronics for a good hour before. Obviously, in this day and age that can be hard, but no screens really help slow the mind down. I personally love to sit, take off my make up whilst I light candles, use aromatherapy oils, or play some chilled music. This is my way to set the scene for a calm night. I then normally do some stretching, because I’m normally sat at a desk all day or have been training, this means I’ll avoid any issues mild of the night. 

After this, I’ll settle into bed, and this is where I will journal. I learnt this off a therapist actually, because I suffer from anxiety, OCD and overwhelming worry. Thoughts tend to sit on top of me until I off load, so journaling has been such a breakthrough for me, not just to aid good sleep but good mental health practice. For example, I’m worried about a conversation I had, or I’ve got so much to do the next day. Whatever it is, I won’t relax until I’ve offloaded it somehow. 

Journaling before bed

Journaling is an adult’s way of a diary. Although I don’t sit and detail out ‘he said, she said’, like I would in my childhood diary, I do detail anything that has caused me bother. Writing it out really helps release the load I’ve subconsciously piled on top of me. 

As a quick tip for those who tend to worry about things said or done during the day. I’ve found an excellent way to silence the worry. For example, let’s say you got into an argument with someone, or you think you might have said something you shouldn’t, there are three steps to ask yourself. Write these in your journal at the front of the book and flick back to it should you need it. 

Journaling the worries away

  1. What happened? Detail what happened and why it’s troubling you.
  2. Can I fix it, if so how? If not skip to 3.  
  3. What would you say to someone else if they had the same thing happen to them?
  4. If you cannot fix it, know that firstly you have remorse because you’re concerned about your actions, and every human makes mistakes. Secondly, you’ve identified the problem, so what can you do moving forward to avoid this situation in the future? 

By writing your concerns or worries out like this can honestly give you the tools to tackle things more objectively in the future. 

Journaling to do lists

After I’ve offloaded about my day and got myself out of my worry loops, I finish my journaling session with my to-do list for the next day. Often subconsciously I’ll be on edge because I have so much to do the next day, I find that if I write out my to-do list and break it up into home, work and life, it makes me feel lighter. Regardless of not actually achieving the tasks as I write them, I have mentally offloaded, and now I’m ready to sleep. 

Comfy nights sleep

After the mind unwind, it’s time to think about quality support to send you off to sleep. Products that contain memory foam are proven to really aid good sleep because they offer support on the neck and back. You can find TEMPUR® Material in both TEMPUR®’s pillows (like mine here) and mattresses. I’ve recently tried the TEMPUR® pillow and it was like sleeping on a cloud, next up is the mattress!

So remember, a good night’s sleep is made up a series of actions in a ‘wind down’ routine. By teaming this with quality sleep products, like those seen from TEMPUR®, you can truly drift off and feel fully recovered for the next day ahead. 

*Post in collaboration with TEMPUR® UK