Wanted: Tips for a good night’s sleep!


I do try each week to make a note of things I want to tell you about, but even if I remember to write them down, I never seem to be able to find the piece of paper I wrote them on! I did try for a while to record them onto my phone. It has a voice record button and has things stored on it like Colin snoring… (ok, so I'm a little odd, but he doesn't believe he does, so I needed proof!!) Oh, and any suggestions you may have for rectifying the racket would be much appreciated!

My attempts to get to sleep…

Of course the snoring may be why I'm not sleeping very well, but you know what it's like when you're mind is busy…. too many things to think about and not enough time in the day to sort them! My Mum had two very good suggestions to determine how serious the problem was or not… if it's bad enough that the thought of getting up and doing the ironing is preferable to lying there awake, then it's bad. 

So, having finished my ironing by 5.13am, I decided to go back to bed and try her tried and tested method of getting back to sleep. Think of a journey you take regularly and try to get from A to B in your mind.  You're not allowed to cheat and you have to think of all the junctions, and road signs, and pubs/shops/motorways along the way. 

Of course you have to keep going back to start – or I did – because in my mind I'd forgotten to bring my phone, then I couldn't remember the code to pay the Congestion Charge, oh, and did I need a wee… you're getting the picture? Needless to say I'd sorted the kitchen cupboards as well as done the ironing by 7am! ANY tips on a better nights sleep would be grand – just post them below!

Tomasz Donocik New jewellery from Tomasz Donocik

Did you catch our premeiere jewellery show Tomasz Donocik on Designer Day at 9pm last Friday?? What a talent. This Austrian lad is only 27 and has won more jewellery design awards in the last four years than you could shake a stick at. Not surprisingly a great many of his gorgous gemset jewellery sold out but I'm hoping he'll bring plenty more next year.

A musical talent

Another remarkable talent – is the singer and performer Corinne Bailey Rae. I'm sure you will have heard her hit song 'Put Your Records On' and then maybe as I did, go on to buy both her hit albums. She lost her husband in March last year and disappeared from public life while trying to cope with her grief. 

Well, on Monday night we went to see her perform some new songs she's written. It was a tiny venue  – The Tabernacle – somewhere near Notting Hill, which was literally like a chuch hall. Standing room only and pretty well packed, but she was awesome. What a voice! I would highly recommend you listen out for her new album – particularly a track called 'Fishing for Hearts'… brought me to tears. From head girl at her school in Yorkshire to that… I guess none of us really knows where life will take us…

And on that note I have to fly, as Sam's back in hospital today. Hopefully it will be the last operation needed to make walking less painful for him. Thank you for your good luck messages for him, and the cards you sent, I will of course let you know how he gets on. 

Batten down the hatches, and try to stay dry in this ghastly weather.

Love Ali xx


  1. Kitty November 25, 2009 at 10:36 am -  Reply

    Hiya Alison
    I’m a terrible insomniac – and I know just what it’s like to have a racing mind, just at the time when you need to be settling down to rest!
    I’ve picked up a few tips from various professionals along the way on something called ‘mindfulness awareness’ which can be useful (but isn’t foolproof) for anxiety and things like insomnia. I was told that if I couldn’t sleep or settle, then to lie still in bed with my eyes shut – and allow the thoughts that are in your mind to happen – don’t try and stop them. As they happen there are two methods of dealing with them.
    Firstly, you take the thoughts and imagine you are standing on a train platform waiting for the train to come in – as it does, push them onto the train and allow the carriage doors to shut, and wave the train goodbye.
    Secondly, you could use this – think about sun and blue sky with passing white fluffy clouds. Every time you have a thought that won’t go – stick it to one of the fluffy white clouds and watch the breeze blow it away in your mind. Not only will the thoughts of sunshine and blue sky be calming, but you’re blowing the thought away.
    Sometimes it can also be really useful to practice diaphragmatic breathing too – which can really help you slumber. Lie flat in bed in the dark, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Breathe in very slowly for a count of 8( Whilst you’re doing this – be aware of the fact that your chest shouldn’t move, your abdomen should push out with the inhale) Get your lungs as full as possible. Hold this breath for a count of 8, then exhale for a count of 8. Practice this three or four times to really regulate your breathing. People don’t realise that when you breathe, very often you only use the top part of your lungs which can lead to anxiety and so on, by using this technique, it erally focuses you on using all of your lungs to breathe (and hence why you should feel your abdomen move and not your chest when you inhale).
    Failing all that, sometimes a dose of Kalms or Valerian tablets can help to settle.
    Well, – I’ve just read that back and realised how much I’ve rabbited on! I do understand the problem though (as you can probably tell!).
    Wishing Sam all the best for today, too – hoping the operation is a success and he recovers well. Look after all yourselves, won’t you?
    With lots of love and best wishes
    Kitty the insomniac

  2. louise November 25, 2009 at 10:44 am -  Reply

    Here’s my tip for nodding off – people think I’m a bit weird when I tell them this, but it works for me. Continually repeat the phonetic alphabet – not out loud!

  3. Mrs Heidi Barnett November 25, 2009 at 11:43 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison,you are right about the ghastly weather,its horrible,depressing and makes aches & pains so much worse!
    Tips for helping you to sleep,mmmmnn,i am a terribly sleeper but splashing good quality lavender oil across the bed and a drop on the pillow helps.If you do not want it on the bed,put a few drops on the base of a lightbulb (before you turn it on)and when its on the heat sends the scent around the room. A warm bath with candles for room lighting,and lie in bed with a good book inhaling the lavender.Then when you settle,tell yourself each body part is getting heavier as you take deep breaths…hope that helps hun x

  4. Elaine Sallis November 25, 2009 at 7:45 pm -  Reply

    just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. Always seems as though you are chatting just to me!!!!! Hope all goes well with Sam. He is so brave.

  5. annemarie November 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm -  Reply

    alison the official advice is watch and/or do something boring. i find watching the night time ads about exercise equipment helps me or i make cards then i can sleep ,reading is also very good

  6. Tina November 25, 2009 at 8:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, I know exactly what you mean especially if you know you are going to have a busy day and need a good nights sleep to get through it. It is so frustrating, so here is my remedy, it never fails for me, give it a go – get comfy in bed, then starting from you feet, slowly relax them working your way up to your carves and then your thighs etc. Don’t rush it. For me Ali I never seem to reach past my torso before I am sleep. Hope you have as much success as I have. Hope your son is doing well. You are in my thoughts and prayers – Tina x

  7. Rhona Fenton November 26, 2009 at 8:52 am -  Reply

    Alison it must be something to do with colin’s and snoring:) I feel your pain:) oh I can get to sleep normally no bother but trying to get to sleep before my colin forget it I do laugh because it’s so funny I timed him once 4 seconds then the snoring starts of course he doesn’t beleive me ha ha some nights feel like the film planes trains and automobiles don’t know if you have seen it? where John candy and Steve Martin are stuck in a motel room together! so if you find any tips on how to fall a sleep in 3 seconds or less please do share:) but like you many a night I thought well can’t get to sleep so what could I go do instead:) hope all went well yesterday with Sam? I did wonder a few times how things were going and how you were holding out yourself? please pass on my get well soon wishes to Sam, and you take care also and look after yourself hope to hear from you soon Alison and let me know out of our two colins which one can fall asleep faster, my money’s on mine ha ha!! lot’s of love Rhona xx

  8. alison keenan November 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm -  Reply

    Kitty thank you so much for taking the time to suggest so many different remedies! I love the idea of the clouds, and also the train…funnily enough i always sleep when I travel on a train! I definitely want to try the diaphramatic breathing thing! I think that could work for me. I hope that whichever method works for you means that you’ll have a better night’s sleep in future. Thanks again Kitty, Love Ali x

  9. alison keenan November 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Louise, Haven’t heard that one before? Phonetic alphabet..reminds of Letterland which I used to help the children learn to write years ago :) I’m game to try anything, so will let you know how I get on. Thanks for writing – very kind of you. Love ali xx

  10. alison keenan November 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm -  Reply

    Heidi you’re a star! Some excellent ideas, and I’m off to purchase some Lavender Oil this afternoon! Like the idea of a warm bath – actually a warm anything right now would be good. Am sitting in my coat as the heating didn’t come on! Thank you so much taking the time to share your tips with me, and I do hope any aches and pains you’re suffering with will ease. Sam’s doing very well – just got back from hospital, so must fly, but will write and let you know in full. Love Ali x

  11. alison keenan November 26, 2009 at 3:32 pm -  Reply

    Elaine, so glad you enjoy reading it. I feel as though we’re in conversation when I write it, so looks like it’s all coming together! Sam’s doing very well thank you and I’ll update you tomorrow. Love Ali xx

  12. alison keenan November 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm -  Reply

    At the moment Anne Marie, just the thought of exercise could send me to sleep!!! That may be the answer :) A good book is an excellent idea except I now have to wear glasses to read they sit unevenly on my nose so may not aid my slumber. I think I should try making a card or two – although don’t you find you wake up with sticky dots stuck to you? :) Thanks again, Love Ali x

  13. alison keenan November 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm -  Reply

    Tina, this sounds very good indeed, and may work even faster if I tie it in with Kitty’s breathing exercises! Tonight may well be the night – oh and the lavender oil! Have just brought Sam home from hospital and he’s doing well so thank you for asking. Love Ali x

  14. alison keenan November 26, 2009 at 3:44 pm -  Reply

    Rhona you’ve definitely won the money! 4 seconds sounds like a record to me. My Colin doesn’t fall asleep that quickly unless I’m talking to him – but that of course he could be pretending just to shut me up! :) We’ve just got back from the hospital Sam and I, and he’s doing well. I promise I’ll write properly tomorrow filling you in but thanks again for your kindness. I’m relieved but still TIRED!! I seem to remember that John Candy/Steve Martin bit – very funny. Although just looking at Steve Martin makes me laugh…bit like Dale!! Lots of love to you, ali xx

  15. Nicola Rippon November 26, 2009 at 3:46 pm -  Reply

    I’m not sure if it will help with the snoring but a really good relaxing drink to have before bedtime (which always helps me relax my way into deep sleep) is a mug of warm milk. Now, before you groan, this is no ordinary mug of warm milk. Firstly it’s important to only heat the milk until it steams – don’t let it get to a rolling boil. The steaming stage is all that is apparently needed to release some relaxing enzymes. Then you stir a small teaspoon of runny honey into the milk (you can add this to the milk when its cold) and finally float some freshly grated nutmeg on top – just gorgeous and the nutmeg ha something in it that makes you feel happy and content apparently. It tastes lovely and I find it really works, especially when I’m feeling stressed.

  16. dorothy November 26, 2009 at 6:50 pm -  Reply

    hi alison
    i know how you feel when davy starts snoring i can hear him down stairs and that is with telly on,then i know im in for a good night i keep digging him in ribs and kicking his legs he grunts stops,and then round two.
    then when he phones next day as i dont see him not at 5 in morning he has nerve to ask if i slept well. since laura left home i sometimes go in her bed but can still hear and left warm bed for cold one. hope all has gone well with sam love best wishes.
    dorothy xx

  17. Pauline Johnson November 26, 2009 at 7:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison my tip for sleeping is Yankee Candles Plug-ins in Lavender,I had trouble sleeping for months and they worked for me,what do you use on your nails to keep them so beautiful? I am having terrible problems with mine mainly peeling, hope the lavender helps XXX

  18. susie November 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm -  Reply

    Find a good yoga teacher , Barbara Currie DVD – there are several yoga techniques that can help that don’t involve getting out of bed and frightening the living day lights out of the pets as I nearly frightened both my cat’s by dong the down ward dog one night – nazel breathing is another, I can’t explain but it does the trick. Also my personal tip is , turning the brain off easier said than done and takes practice, start by: do you have a problem right here and right now ? if no then what’s the problem if yes can you solve the problem if yes then do so or write a plan of how to do, if no then dismiss it and give it no more negative attention . If it helps great, if not reading this you’er probably asleep by now……

  19. Julie November 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Hope Sam’s doing well. Sorry haven’t got a remedy for getting to sleep as I’m a fine one to ask!! I can only assume you’re having problems because you have so much on your mind and work unsociable hours. I know my Husband was the same when he worked shifts, our mealtimes and sleep patterns were totally different.
    No more falling over-yet! Have just finished my Christmas shopping and now looking forward to a couple of “girlie” days out as a few days off work!!
    Take Care, speak soon
    Julie xx

  20. alison keenan November 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Nicola, Thank you! I have always been a Horlicks girl, but think the honey and nutmeg combination sounds delightful. Am thinking I’d need to warm the milk on the hob though as the microwave is a little difficult to monitor! I used to own a nutmeg grater – dinky little thing like a minature cheese grater, but I lost it during one of my house moves! Will try to get to Tring as there’s a lovely little hardware store that has all manner of things and a nutmeg grater may well be one of them :) Thanks again, and continued good sleep to you love Ali xx

  21. alison keenan November 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm -  Reply

    Dorothy I so empathise with you!! I actually ended up in Lucy’s bed the other night – well not literally – but in her old room, and yes it was bloomin’ cold! I kept my dressing gown on! You should try and get Dave to fall asleep downstairs in front of the telly and if you get to sleep maybe his snoring won’t wake you up. General concencus seems to be so long as it starts once you’re asleep, it rarely wakes you up! The kicking and prodding rarely makes much of an impact though I agree :) Sam’s doing well and thank you for asking Dorothy. Love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan November 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm -  Reply

    Pauline, so glad the Lavendar plug ins are working for you, and I plan to order some online if they’re in. I do think Yankee Candles have got one of the finest lavender fragrances outside of actually picking the stuff fresh! My friend Ros who’s into aromatherapy always used to swear by a dab of lavendar oil on the temples to help you drift off. It reminds me of my Aunty Ivy’s house when I was a little girl, and we used to pick her lavendar… it smelt gorgous. Thanks Pauline, and I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Love Ali xx

  23. alison keenan November 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm -  Reply

    Susie, you did make me laugh! The downward dog??? The mind boggles. Had a little bit of an issue with extraneous noises when I once tried yoga… that no doubt would frighten the children as well as the pets! Your idea about thinking through the problems though is great, and reminded me of Wayne Dyer and his Excuses Begone CD’s…. you’re right it makes a lot of sense, and in my case would take a LOT of paper!! Take care and thank you for taking time to try and help. It’s much appreciated. Love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan November 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm -  Reply

    Julie your assumption is correct… children, home, christmas, work,… just the usual things, and yes the shifts can be difficult, but I have had some time off so can’t blame that :) I need to prioritise and take on some of the other great suggestions you lovelies have been writing for me. Perhaps you should try a few if you’re still struggling to sleep. Very glad to hear you’ve got a couple of ‘girlie’ days lined up and a few days off work. I have to say sad but true, that I miss work and my friends when I’m not there, although it’s been good having extra time with Sam this week :). Take care Julie, love ali xxx

  25. Gooodnew December 3, 2009 at 12:22 pm -  Reply

    dear alsin i am glad your sans grift is getting better i have had 38 moles removed and had two skin grifs and will be in pain for ever take care heather

  26. alison keenan December 7, 2009 at 8:15 pm -  Reply

    Oh Heather I do so hope your pain will get better soon, and that the skin grafts will heal well. Once they are dry, lavender oil or Elemis’s Prolagene are excellent to accelerate healing. Thank you for your kind message. Do take care, Love alix

  27. Tara Garnett February 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    I met you in October 09 at a Jewellrey event at QVC. I doubt you remember me but I was the one who asked after the lovely Daniel Green? I’m not the only one who can’t sleep then! The only way I can drop-off is to read until I can hardly keep my eyes open. It works although it’s no guarantee it’ll keep me asleep – I just have to hope for the best. At least I get to read a lot of books, which I don’t get time for during the day.

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