I seem to need a lot of sleep now I’m getting older. Gone are the days when I could get in at 6am, shower, get changed and go to work (and make it through the entire day). Gone also are the days when I could lie in bed all day watching movies and being a slob. The guilt would set in now. But although I need lots of sleep, I am thankful I’ve never really had much trouble getting to sleep. Years ago I developed a sleep routine, so convinced that I could transform any insomniac into a restful sleeper. But you have to follow the rules:

Rule One – this is terribly boring and sometimes impractical but nevertheless, to get the best sleep you should try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Research shows that this is the best way to get your body into a routine. But seriously, who wants to go to bed at 10:30pm on a Saturday and wake up 6:45am on a Sunday? Still…. if you’re that desperate you’ll try anything.

Rule Two – ban the clocks. I have a clock that I’ve had for years, it comes with me every time I move house and it projects the time onto the wall. I adore it. But when I can’t sleep, there is nothing worse than watching the hours speed or drag by whist you think about how little sleep you’ve had. So get rid.

Rule Three – no naps after your evening meal. I am all for afternoon naps. I fully support them, there is nothing better. BUT you must never nap after your evening meal or you are in grave danger of waking up at 4am or something ridiculous. Or you won’t sleep that night, this is also why napping on Sundays are banned, unless absolutely necessary, because it’s always harder to sleep on Sundays after a weekend when you have work on Monday.

Rule Four – avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes and other stimulants. Sex is okay though, studies show (think I saw this one on This Morning) that couples who stay up later to have sex are happier than those who go to sleep without. So there.

Rule Five – I always find a light snack an hour or so before bed helps me sleep. I recommend a little apple and cheese cut up (which you must eat apple, then cheese, then apple, then cheese and it is imperative you finish on a cheese) and maybe toast with peanut butter or a choccy biccy. With a glass of milk. Or Horlicks.

Rule Six – try avoiding TV at least an hour before bed. If your aim is to go to bed at 10:30pm, at 9:30 turn of the telly, mobile phone, internet, have a bath or shower (I love Johnsons baby bedtime bath, get in pjs, clean teeth etc and then get in bed and read or listen to (calm) music until you are nice and relaxed. If you can’t get to sleep, read some more and don’t worry or fret. See Rule Two about clocks.

Rule Seven – get plenty of exercise and fresh air. This will always help sleep especially if you are lucky enough to live by the sea 😀

Rule Eight – clean sheets always make it feel extra nice to get into bed. I also love Boots Pillow Mist. You want your bedroom to be a complete haven from the outside world, so make sure it’s the right temperature and although I am not the tidiest of people a tidy room will make you feel better and less stressed.

Rule Nine – get your partner to massage you with some relaxing oil like this from The Body Shop –  if they get carried away… remember Rule Four 😉

Rule Ten – don’t get worked up. The best result for a good night sleep is staying calm and relaxed whilst following a routine so if this doesn’t work on night one, keep trying until you find something that works for you.

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