With high temperatures and increased light, sleeping soundly in summer can be challenging.
If you’re struggling to get off to sleep at bedtime, here are some tips to employ tonight. But if waking in the night is your problem – followed by difficulty in getting back to sleep – then you might need to try some different tricks.
Of course, as with all sleep issues, establishing a good bedtime routine and healthy bedroom habits is recommended. Following that, try the below sleep aids for when you wake in the night – for whatever reason.
Dr Anna Persaud, the CEO of This Works who, with a PHD in biochemistry, is an expert in all things sleep, says if you wake in the night it’s important to avoid further stimulating the brain. “So, for example, don’t start planning your to-do list, thinking about work, or under any circumstances reach for your phone,” she instructs.
The doctor continues: “Try, if you can, to stay in bed and keep your mind still, for example by focusing on a specific point of a ‘virtual’ picture, or replaying in your mind part of a film or documentary, or even a book you have recently read. There is also something to be said for the old adage of counting sheep.”
Try guided meditation
If you struggle to still your mind with your thoughts alone, try some guided meditation.
Calm, the leading app for guided meditation, sleep techniques and stress reduction, offers wonderfully soothing music and relaxing bedtime stories. A new sleep meditation called Gently Back to Sleep is designed specifically for use in the middle of the night.
Tamara Levitt, mindfulness instructor and Calm’s head of content, explains: “When people wake in the middle of the night, they often are swept away by anxious, reactive thoughts about not being able to fall back asleep. Our mind will keep us awake even though we are exhausted.” This is especially common for those who have recurring sleep problems.
“By redirecting our attention from stressful thoughts to supportive words and calming music, as well as anchoring our attention on the breath and body, our minds will calm down allowing us to drift off into sleep," she explains. "I also worked with a musician to create some beautiful, soothing music to help support relaxation.” We can concur it works.
Use a micro-encapsulated sleep spray
Spritzed on your pillow, sleep sprays harnessing the power of essential oils including lavender–renowned for its relaxing powers, are an easy way to promote sleep. But make sure you’re using the right one for your problem.
Dr Persaud explains that the award-winning This Works pillow sprays differ in how their fragrance is released. “The Sleep Plus pillow spray is our solution for restless sleepers and those who wake in the early hours," she says. "It is micro-encapsulated with the fragrance captured in tiny spheres that break on the pillow as you toss and turn. The formula continuously releases its therapeutic aroma throughout the night, offering immediate and sustained relief to those who struggle to stay asleep and helping to reintroduce a normal sleep pattern.”
You never know – it might nip further wake-ups in the bud.
Eye masks and ear plugs
If it’s simply light that wakes you, then investing in heavier curtains or blackout blinds is ideal. Failing that, conceal it with a quality eye mask. The Holistic Silk Lavender Eye Mask is filled with fresh lavender to induce relaxation and it's made from luxurious silk, preferable given that natural fibres are more breathable and help to regulate the temperate (should the heat be a problem, too).
Whether a snoring partner, dripping tap or the dawn chorus disturbs your slumber, noise cancelling ear plugs can be invaluable. Look for medical grade nano silicone versions, which perform far better than the foam types you get free on a long-haul flight.
From Harper's BAZAAR U.K