There's no doubt that a great night's sleep can make all of the difference to your state of mind come morning. A full night's rest often makes for a more positive and productive start to the day. In fact, regular, deep sleep is widely regarded to be one of the most important aspects of a healthy daily routine. So why do so many of us find the very act of sleeping just so damn hard? While times are still far from normal and with nights now starting to draw in earlier, it's safe to say that any chances of managing to uphold a regimented sleep routine at the moment are slim.
In fact, here at Who What Wear, we're desperately seeking new ways to restore some order and structure into our evening routines, to ensure we're getting as much quality shut-eye as is possible. With so many of us still working from home, finding ways to switch off and de-stress after a long, hard day at work can be challenging. So, in a bid to help people far and wide de-stress and switch off, we reached out some beauty and wellness experts and quizzed them on the pre-bed rituals they swear by for a good night's sleep. Keep scrolling to see what they had to say.
"I used to have a fantastic sleep pattern, I had no issues going to bed or waking up whenever I needed to. As an MUA, I never really had a set bedtime or wake up—it could be very early depending on the job, but I never struggled. Since menopause though, I've noticed a change in my sleep pattern and with lockdown it has highlighted the issue. Getting to sleep isn't a problem for me. My issue is I'd like to sleep longer and deeper.
"In the evening, as soon as I am home and know I don't have any Zoom calls to do or anywhere to go, I take my makeup off and cleanse my skin straight away. I find it easier to relax in the evening knowing I've cleansed my skin, and if you do it just before bed you never do as good a job because you are tired.
"Then, when it is time to go up to bed, I take three Lumity Life tablets, which I keep on my bedside table, and try to do a tiny bit of meditation. For me, meditation mostly means just sitting in bed and taking a moment to think and be grateful."
"I always use a foot cream. Especially in winter, our feet need a bit of TLC, and while you're in bed and not wearing any socks or shoes, it's the perfect time to give it to them! Weleda Skin Food is my absolute go-to for feet before bed, it's super hydrating and the scent along with the feeling of applying cream just makes my feet feel relaxed and ready for bed."
"My sleep pattern is usually pretty consistent, however, during the past few months, I have definitely been a little up and down with my schedule changing and the times that we are in. If I've had a super-busy day, I can usually drift off pretty quickly, but practising my evening rituals really helps on the nights that I struggle.
"I begin my pre-sleep routine by leaving my phone in a different room. I find the distraction of having my phone next to me keeps me awake far longer than I otherwise would have been. I then like to make my room feel cosy by turning on my salt lamp and using some calming lavender essence, before using one of my three favourite, simple sleep tools:
1. Breath awareness meditation is a great technique to calm the nervous system and leaves me feeling relaxed and ready to drift off. I like to use a breathing technique called coherent breathing, which involves inhaling through the nose for six seconds and then exhaling through the nose for six seconds.
2. I find it really helpful to release any tension in my body before I sleep too. I use Yoga Nidra, which is a practice of muscle relaxation, and move through every part of my body, starting with my toes, relaxing each muscle as you go. By the time I reach my head I am often asleep.
3. Reading also really helps my mind relax too. Tuning into a good book encourages me to forget about whatever has been on my mind from that day and after only a few pages my eyes always begin to drop."
"The REN Clean Skincare & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray is another favourite of mine. The frankincense & lavender scent really soothes and calms the mind and the hops essential oil helps to enhance the depth and quality of my sleep. I spray this around my pillow before I get into bed and it feels so calming when I rest my head on the pillow."
"Luckily, I've always been one to fall asleep quite easily. If I'm working the next day I tend to get ready for bed around 10 or 10:30 p.m. I do wake up feeling rested, despite waking up once or twice at night as I have a baby who is still finding his sleep pattern. Everyone tells you to enjoy your sleep when you're pregnant, but you can never quite appreciate what that really means until you become a parent. So I've adapted quickly to my new routine but can't wait for a proper lie-in… in 17 years' time!
"As soon as I come through the door, I'm in my Desmond & Dempsey pyjamas and have my headscarf on. I’m trying to make an effort to add a little style as I always opt for comfort. Is it strange that I look forward to my PM skincare routine? My time in the bathroom cleansing my face is a way of having some time out and reflecting on the day.
"Earlier this year, I made a conscious effort to put down my phone an hour or two before bedtime. I found my mind was quite overactive with to-do lists, and stepping away from social media has allowed me to feel I more relaxed at bedtime."
"If I’m running a bath, I’ll add Earl of East bath salts Shinrin-Yoku. It helps me to relax in a physical and mental sense. It does have quite an earthy aroma; Nature prescriptions have been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost your immune system."
"I come alive at night time, which I credit with being born just after midnight. So I fall asleep quite late but find it pretty easy to nod off and stay asleep until the next morning.
"Balance is key for me, and while I'm a meditation teacher, joy is just as vital. For me, joy looks like watching a gripping TV series before bed. I also spend (probably too long) watching memes before I sleep. I have a non-negotiable rule that I should laugh before I fall asleep, so I do that every night. I always go to sleep with a smile on my face and wake up that way. Then I listen to my Daily Activation that I created for people who hate meditating and don't have time. It's a 12 minute audio that's part journaling and part meditation and always helps my mind to find peace and calm at night as it's a bit of a mind dump, where I can release any stress or worries onto the page."
"I'm as attached to a pillow scented with this lavender, chamomile and geranium wonder as a baby is to their blanket. I'm pretty sure that my brain has now associated this smell with bedtime, such is its power to get me to sleep in an instant."
"In lieu of a mug of hot chocolate before bed, this is the next best thing. With its vanilla, chocolate scent and a formula that delivers intense moisture, it has the exact amount of comfort and decadence I need before bed. Plus, I simply can't sleep with dry lips."
Photo:COURTESY OF ALEXIA INGE
"Sleep, the final frontier of modern life – how did something so instinctual become such a precious commodity? Since I set up Cult Beauty my problem has mostly been falling asleep, as the cyclical busy brain to-do lists take over. There are many incredibly healthy long-term strategies to combat sleeplessness—meditation, regular exercise, not eating vast amounts of cheese before bed—and while I can give mountains of great advice around them, I have yet to follow any habitually.
"I have, however, found some effective life hacks to employ in the meantime while contemplating one of these more commitment-heavy solutions; and maybe following some of the many good people of Instagram pretending to do them too."
"Ensure your final nesting place is something akin to a mothers hug, with the nicest sheets you can afford and a silk pillowcase – I love the Slip Silk Pillowcase (and yes I do put it in the washing machine because life is too short to handwash a pillowcase!)."
"A bath is a brilliant tool, heating your body up and allowing it to cool is a well-thumbed sleep expert tip, and if you add some alchemy with the magical Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts – which absorb electromagnetic radiation from screen time and contain oils that rock your mind into stillness – you will be both physically and mentally prepped."
"Depending on the day, I'll usually start my evening returning from the clinic or a workout (I'm currently addicted to Barry's Bootcamp). I then make my dinner and have either a podcast or YouTube on in the background. I try to avoid using my laptop in the evenings too, just to help set a boundary between home and work. But because I'm naughty, I'll do a bit of mindless scrolling on my phone."
"I'm a big sleep and rest girl—it's so important for me to have downtime, so I've made it a priority and a ritual for years. I always have a big cup of either mint or chamomile tea to help wind me down and soothe my digestion pre-sleep. Honestly, for me, I signal to my body that it's nearly time to sleep when I take my makeup off, cleanse my face and apply my serum. To me, it's such a ritual and moment just for me that I really enjoy. I also love to read in bed to help relax my mind."
"Being freelance means that the concept of a normal working day has always been a bit alien to me. While most people are used to switching off at least somewhat when they clock off from work, not having a set schedule means that I regularly find myself typing away into the early hours of the morning.
"Over the years, this routine has had quite a negative effect on my sleep routine. This year, I made it my mission to get some structure into my pre-sleep regimen. The minute I finish working, I run myself a relaxing bath and vow not to pick my laptop up again until the next day. I find that taking an hour out to indulge in some self-care has massively helped me switch off and drift off quicker when I get into bed."
"If you ask me, L'Occitane bath products are some of the most relaxing out there, and this lavender-scented bubble bath is my go-to for pre-bed baths. Not only does it create luxurious bubbles and leave skin feeling silky soft, it also fills the room with the most soothing lavender aroma."
"Like so many others, I'm not a huge fan of feeling greasy or sticky before I get into bed, so would usually stay away from applying thick, rich body creams. However, this Deep Relax body cream from Aromatherapy Associates sinks into the skin in a matter of minutes and delivers instant calmness. It leaves limbs feeling nourished and soothed, too. I think I'm on my third or fourth tub of this stuff."
"I always have a candle burning somewhere in the house and the minute I step foot into the bedroom in the evening, I light a calming, sleep-appropriate scent. I have a whole bunch of favourite scents that help me unwind and drift off, but this one definitely comes top of the list. It's fresh and airy, but contains floral notes of jasmine to help relax a busy mind. It's strong but in no way overpowering."