The world is finally waking up and realising the importance of sleep (and then they’re all going back to bed again, hooray!)
Lately it seems that I’ve been getting busier and busier, my days are so full that they encroach into the night – be it getting home in the early hours, or rising before the sun to crack on with work, or both. I’ve noticed myself eyeing up dark spaces under tables and soft gaps in hedgerows, and wondering if I could make a cosy nap nest there. I know when I am tired.
It’s not always easy to get enough sleep, sometimes we have other responsibilities, and sometimes we just don’t put enough emphasis on self care, so to aide us all, I thought it’d be nice to put together a list of reasons to stay in bed…
You’ll get more done when you’re not overtired. When you’ve had enough rest you’ll find yourself far more productive and you’ll literally be able to get up and at ‘em! You can push on at a slow and miserable pace, or you can catch up on some sleep and then speed more happily through the tasks when you are rested and ready.
Your cat will appreciate it. As long as he’s been fed, he’ll be happy to weigh your chest down and lower your oxygen intake. If you don’t have a cat, try leaving a door open and a trail of cooked chicken to your bedroom, you might be able to lure in a neighbours cat, or possibly a fox. If that fails, try a hot water bottle.
It feels like a treat, and it’s free. (Unless you’re self employed and you miss work, of course!) You could go to a spa and relax, yes, but you could also stay in bed for free. Get a cup of tea and settle back down. Don’t get any biscuits, the crumbs will only hinder your sleep the following night.
You’re safe there. As long as you don’t put a foot over the edge then the under-bed monster can’t get you. And, if you have to get up and go to the loo, you know the rules – as long as you’re back in bed before the flush finishes you’ll be fine.
You will keep warm. Save on heating bills. Save on clothing bills. Reduce your carbon footprint. Bloody genius.
You’ll give your brain and your body a chance to repair and restore. When you dream you stitch memories together and file things away in the right place. While you sleep your body repairs muscles and focuses on tissue growth. You get a lot done when you’re asleep, just remember that. The average adult needs roughly 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If you don’t get enough on a regular basis your body will force you to get rest some other way (like a virus).
You can daydream. Can’t sleep? Don’t worry, just breathe. Meditate. Push the stress out – not literally, just metaphorically (please – see point 4 about going to the loo) and allow the calm in. It might help to listen to some relaxing, slow paced music, or the white noise of a fan. Let your imagination take over. Imagine yourself on a boat, or at the beach, riding a speeding horse with the wind in your hair. Dream big. I’m a unicorn! (No really, I am.)
You can read. Sometimes my friend Aoife tells me about her weekend bed nest and I feel proud of her. Keep a stash of awesome books at your bedside. I like picture books and that’s okay.
You’ll be kinder and happier. If you’re over tired things can seem so much more stressful, and you might be snappier than normal. You’ll be doing the world a huge favour by getting a few hours extra kip. Now, I’m not sure how you’re going to package that for your boss, but probably with a smile and enthusiasm, because you will be so well rested.
You’ll loose weight! Total true fact. All that sweating and breathing whilst you sleep and then peeing when you wake up – sounds gross, but it’s true, and no worse than drinking cayenne pepper and maple syrup for breakfast (also, you could stay in bed until lunch time and never have to think about breakfast again.)
Move over Rosemary Conley, put your Davina work-out DVD’s in the bin, because I’ve just come up with THE weight loss fad diet of 2017. Where’s my book deal, bitches?
Sometimes you just need to cut yourself some slack! Simple, but true. We’re trained to be busy. We compete our busyness against each other like some kind of weird match of one-upmanship. We’re told that if you’re not busy, you’re not making the most of your life, and… you’re lazy!
Why should you feel guilty when you need a rest, or when you want to take a day off if you’re not feeling too well? Remember that Bonjovi lyric, ‘Live while I’m alive and sleep when I’m dead!’ ? What a load of tosh. You’ll probably die a lot sooner if you don’t get a bit of kip! And, if you’re too exhausted to enjoy your busy life, then what’s the point?
Because you can! You’re in charge – do what you like. Power to you!
My top 10 things to help you sleep:
Rohypnol. (I’m joking. Or am I? Of course I am. Or am I?)
Cool air. I love a breeze in the morning, and I much prefer my face to be cool when I’m in bed. Turn the radiator in your bedroom down a couple of notches.
White noise. Try having a fan on in your room. It blocks out other noises and creates a gentle dull repetitive sound.
Tidy bedroom. Keep your bedroom as clear as possible, you don’t need any distractions or reminders of things that ‘need’ to be done.
Clean and comfy bed. Getting into a crisp clean bed is a simple pleasure. You spend so much time in bed, so it’s really worth investing in good bedding, plump pillows and the best mattress you can afford.
Darkness. Turn the lights down a few hours before you plan to go to sleep, and make your bedroom as dark as possible to help your body know it’s sleepy time. I wear a sleep mask in the summer months to keep the light out. (Just remember you’ve got it on if you get up in the night and wonder what’s wrong with the light switch!)
No screens. I know, this one is tough! At least put your phone onto night mode and turn the brightness right down. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, but that doesn’t stop me from watching crappy youtube videos on my phone. Don’t be like me. Leave the screens out of the bedroom.
Fresh air and exercise. I always sleep best when I’ve had a busy outdoors day. Even if you just get out for a 10 minute walk, it’s all worth it.
No caffeine. Be an old girl like me and have a Horlicks or some hot milk. Nice.
The A-Z game. It’s better than counting sheep. When your brain is whizzing away, and you need a distraction from all your busy thoughts, try the A-Z game. Work your way through an A-Z of car models, or girls names, or types of cake. You’ll soon get bored and drift off.
Simba. I didn’t know a mattress could be so good, and I never thought that I would feel the urge to publicly announce that… I LOVE MY BED! It’s true, so true. At first I thought it might be soft, but now I just can’t wait to get up to my bed nest every night, I’m sleeping better and for longer, and I miss it when I stay away. Simba offer a 100 night trial, I’m on day 87 and I would cry if they came to take it away now! (If you’ve been considering a new mattress then I can really recommend Simba, and you can get £50 off here. Nice.)
Orose. Super soft mulberry silk bedding. So soft it’s hard to stay on the bed unless you sleep perfectly in the middle. I’ve only slid off the bed twice. Power to me! Silk pillow cases are supposed to be really good at preventing wrinkles. I’ve got a silk sleep mask too. Two pronged attack on ageing there! (The extra sleep I’ve been getting should help too, right?)
Luks Linen. See that beautiful herringbone patterned blanket? It’s the softest cotton, it’s ethically handmade, and it comes at a really reasonable price from my friend Rachel’s shop. It’s warm enough to snuggle, and light enough to be practical, and it comes with me wherever I go.
CoBALTUM. It’s true, I love tea so much that I’d probably drink it out of a bucket, but it tastes best out of a beautiful cup. I have several pieces of CoBALTUM’s china in my cupboards, and I take absolute delight in using it. This cup and saucer is just the right size and thickness, and it looks spot on. (Does anyone else test cups and glasses out in shops? The empty cup fake-sip test? No?)
Etta French. Beautifully scented plant-wax candles, in simple recycled glass jars, with a shiny jewellery gift inside. It’s like a Kinder Surprise for grown ups (without the edible bit, of course.)
Soley Organics. These little pots of GRAEDIR (healing balm) and eyGLO (moisturising cream) are gentle, subtle and bursting with icelandic herbs. They smell nice and they haven’t made my face fall off. This is a great positive. If you have a moment, go and read their ‘about’ page, it’s utterly fabulous and sounds like something out of Heidi.
My bedside reading list:
The Hamptons, Michael Clinton.
Along the Hackney Canal, by Freya Najade. (Shutter Hub review here).
Basic Forms, Bernd and Hilla Becher.
Shadow Catchers, by Martin Barnes.
FARMED, Paul Hart. (Shutter Hub review here).
Full Moon, Darren Almond.
Honeysuckle Cottage, PG Wodehouse.
Fascinating and brilliant TED Talk by Russell Foster – Why do we sleep?
Podcast – Arianna Huffington and Tiku discuss the hard realities of sleep.
In her book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives.
The Science of Sleep: A Brief Guide on How to Sleep Better Every Night.
A list of good sleep habits.
With huge thanks and appreciation to my sleep-making partners:
*Those who’ve given me inspiration and support, and helped make this article possible.
As always, my opinions are my own, I say what I think, share what I like, and I do all my own sleeping. Hooray!
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