I hope everybody is having a wonderful summer. In true Brit style, I must mention the weather – it’s been very mixed, from thunderstorms and torrential rain to roasting hot clear summer days and now it’s autumn already!
I recently returned from a little weekend trip away to the Balearics with some great friends who also invited friends and it turned out to be a fab group that really clicked well. It’s particularly good when this happens because I’ve experienced it the other way around, where two people in the group clash, which can make for an unpleasant experience. We had some really interesting chats each day, covering a variety of topics, shared life stories and any so-called wisdom we had. One of the topics we got on to was sleeping – quality of sleep and its impact on us as we get older, something which I feel quite passionate about but have always been quite bad at. I know many of you may be yawning at even the prospect of this conversation and thinking, ‘wow, Chloe really ought to broaden her horizons and get out more’ – bear with me, sleep is really important for us. Sleep helps us relax, rejuvenate, replenish, recover and rest – all the R’s – and it can make us feel much better.
Growing up I had a really busy extracurricular schedule outside of school. My parents had always been very proactive in enrolling my brother Oliver and I in after-school activity clubs and sports pursuits. Now when I look back, I’m not sure whether it was to get rid of us or to give us opportunities! Between the ages of 4 and about 8 years old, I tried all of the following at some point: swimming club, horse riding, canoeing, rock climbing, football club, piano lessons, trumpet lessons. Between 8 and 10 years old, I focused on swimming and water polo before I eventually found spring and high diving, which I turned out to be pretty good at. I progressed quickly, trained hard, four times a week in the pool and twice a week on strength and flexibility. As an adolescent fitting this training around school, homework and growing up was tough but it was my coach (the belated Fred Jessop) used to tell me how important sleep and rest were. I trusted and respected this man, he believed in me and supported my aspirations. When someone wise tells you something wise I think we should listen and take note – I did.
Anyway, back to the conversation about sleep strategy – we each threw into the melting pot different ideas about ideal circumstances and best policy for the optimum nights sleep. I added input about actual furnishings, bed sheets, pillows and mattress quality – most of which I have learned from QVC working with brands like Northern Nights, Magniflex and Sealy Posturepedic. Sleep is now a science, there are formulas and we can get better at it.
I find my mind is always active with crazy ideas and I think about things to do the next day, so now when I go to bed I write down lists which clears it out of my head. Some of us spend lots of time using technology just before bed, tweeting, updating our status or gaming – this light from computers, tablets, TVs and phones can also have an effect on our brain, leading it to think it’s daytime. Perhaps avoid technology at least an hour before bed, if you usually watch TV then read or meditate instead.
A warm bath or shower just before bed helps with our temperature regulation, as well as having a relaxing effect on the muscles. I have found a flow of fresh air really helps me, so consider having a window open a little if it’s secure enough.
Not sleeping enough or at all can make us feel horrible, I remember if I was poorly when I was younger my mum used it say “sleep yourself better love”. When we need to make a decision, particularly an important one folk say “sleep on it”.
Have a think about your sleep, are you getting enough quality sleep? It’s amazing the difference a good night’s sleep can make!
If you have any other tips on good sleep I’d love you to share them here.