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Reclaim your nights with 7 steps to better sleep

Shoved your 900th sheep over a gate - but still can't get to sleep? We consulted the experts for the best ways to catch some uninterrupted zzzs.

I have a confinement confession to make; I’ve turned into a full-blown insomniac. Having been deprived of sleep for so long I could never fathom how anyone wouldn’t drift off with the sweet relief of hitting the pillow at the end of the day – so I caught up with an expert.

Kathryn Pinkham, founder of The Insomnia Clinic and a consultant Sleep Specialist for the NHS, kindly shared her tips on cracking sleepless nights. See you under the sheets…

Don’t spend too long in bed

The first thing we do when we can’t sleep is start going to bed earlier to try and increase our hours of sleep. Reduce the amount of time you spend in bed awake, go to bed later and get up earlier, this will encourage your body’s natural sleep drive to kick in. By reducing the time you spend in bed you will crave more sleep, fall asleep faster and find your quality of sleep improving.

Keep to a routine

Set your alarm and get up at your usual time. Resist the temptation to lie in as this will affect your ability to build a drive to sleep the next night. If you are self isolating, then try to stick with a normal routine. Don’t spend lots of time in your pyjamas or watching TV in your bedroom (especially the news!) instead, as far as you can, keep your bedroom for sleeping.

Stop clock watching

It is very tempting to look at the clock every time we wake up to monitor how little sleep we are getting. However, this then increases the pressure to fall back to sleep and makes it less likely. Set your alarm for the morning then avoid looking at the time again.

Don’t lie in bed awake

If you can’t get to sleep or have woken up in the middle of night, get out of bed. The longer we lie in bed trying to fall back to sleep the more frustrated we get. This, in turn, means we begin to subconsciously relate bed to feeling stressed and being awake rather than asleep. Leave the bedroom and do something relaxing like read a book downstairs, then when you are tired go back to bed.

Manage your thoughts.

A busy mind is one of the most common culprits in keeping us awake at night, so start by writing things down. Make time to list what is on your mind, this can be therapeutic as it is a way of getting things out of your head. Currently, you can’t solve this problem, but when you write down your worries in black and white, you can make a plan about what you are in control of. Ask yourself, how many of the worries are hypothetical (haven’t yet happened) and how is worrying about them affecting you?

Get outdoors

If you have a private garden or open space nearby, get outside every day. You need the fresh air to keep you healthy as being inside too long can make it hard to sleep well, and also affect your mood. You also need the daylight to regulate and keep your body clock in sync, so as a minimum make sure all curtains and blinds are fully open during the day.

Tap into a mindfulness or meditation app

You can also find help online, there are lots of apps for inducing sleep and reducing anxiety. (Muddy loves Headspace, the free version has “sleepcasts,” which are 45-55 minutes and like adult bedtime stories, and Noisli which lets you choose your favourite sounds. Check out the reassuring murmour of a coffee shop!). Or the Insomnia Clinic offers a free sleep webinar too, which will provide further tips on improving your sleep.

Here are our Muddy top 5 picks for a good night’s kip. Someone hit the lights, we’re off …

1. Bamford B Silent Night-Time Pillow Mist, £20

This award-winning range will lull you to sleep with frankincense, lavender and marjoram. Spritz your pillow with this relaxing mist when you go to bed to ease tension – dreams never smelt so sweet.

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2. Neom Organics Perfect Night’s Sleep Multi Mineral Bath Salts, £38

Someone bought me Neom bath salts last year and I haven’t left the bath since. A corker for melting away stresses and bringing on slumber. Infused with safflower and jojoba oil, these Himalayan salts are scented with English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine. 

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3. ANI Candle No.1 – Spring, £30

Create yourself a sleep haven with this gorgeous candle from Cotswold brand ANI Skincare. Infused with lavender, lemongrass and rosemary, it’ll have you drifting off muttering about running through wheat fields in record time.

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4. Ila Big Sleep Drops, £17

These dreamy drops will have you snoozing in no time, combining calming chamomile, sleep-inducing belladonna, orange blossom and liquorice. Take a few drops before bed – an insomniac’s dream.

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5. thisworks deep sleep breathe in, £18

Make this part of your essential sleep kit, an aromatherapeutic roll-on that you dab on to your skin’s pulse points to calm and soothe. Packed with essential oils such as lavender and vetivert.

Buy Now

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