Thursday, 13 February 2014

Trouble Sleeping?

Merry meet one and all!

Recently I have been surrounded by people not being able to sleep well.  My Twitter feed is full of insomniacs, conversations have been dominated by lack of sleep, and I have received requests for help from all directions, so I thought rather than try and condense my answer into tweets or a Facebook post I would put all the information into a blog post and spread the word around.

So where do we begin?  The first thing to do, in fact the most important aspect of this blog, is to modify your lifestyle to minimise disruption to your sleep pattern.  Most of us know to cut caffeine out at least one and preferably two hours before bedtime; for me personally, I know that if I'm still drinking tea after 8 o'clock at night then I will still be awake at midnight.  Similarly we should cut out sugary snacks an hour or two before bed so the sugar doesn't keep us awake.

Other things you can do include such simple things as having an evening routine.  Most of us know this is important if you have a baby, but this continues as adults too.  A warm but not hot bath will help your body find a good temperature for sleep, while writing a to-do list for the next day will help if you're constantly going over things in your head.  If possible, turn the lights down as it gets closer to bedtime to simulate night falling - we are animals after all.

One thing many people are unaware of is the electronic world we live in is also destroying our sleep patterns.  Man-made screens, be they laptops, monitors, games consoles, smart phones or tablets, all produce light that is largely from the blue end of the spectrum. That is the type of light you get naturally at dawn, so by browsing your smart phone just before bed, you're actually telling your brain it's time to wake up and start the day; no wonder so many of us have trouble getting to sleep!  This light is also produced by your television set, though evidence seems to suggest that because we tend to sit several feet away the impact is lessened; watching a stimulating tv show can still cause you to lie awake staring at the darkness wondering whodunnit, and the advice is to remove electrical good from the bedroom all together.  From my point of view, I rely on my phone's alarm facility, but I leave it on silent and face down on something soft so if I get a notification the light and vibrating doesn't disturb me.  Hey, I'm human not perfect :)

Make sure your bedroom is properly dark and invest in lined curtains to keep the lights out.  If you're bedroom is facing a noisy road consider double glazing or ear plugs.  Try not to have the room too warm either; 16C - 18C (60F - 65F) is ideal.  If you just can't get comfortable in bed, your mattress may need replacing and a decent bed and mattress could get you an extra hour of sleep alone, according to The Sleep Council.

Ok, so we've switched off our electric devices and shunned caffeine for a couple of hours before grabbing a warm bath and heading into our cool and completely dark bedroom, but from a witchy point of view, is there anything we can do?  Personally I swear by Marie Bruce's "Milky Way Slumber" potion, which can be found in her book "How To Create A Magical Home", so I will leave you with that, but if you have any other tips please share them in the comments section below.

Fill a large mug with milk, then transfer the milk to your cauldron or saucepan.  Heat the milk gently, stirring in a teaspoon of honey as the milk warms.  Continue to heat until it is just starting to boil, then pour it back into the mug.  Add 2 drops each of rock rose and gentian Bach Flower Remedies, which have a relaxing effect, and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon and take it to bed where you can sip it gently.

Sleep well everyone, blessed be )0(