Last Friday night, I was invited to attend a seriously unusual sleepover… Dr. Guy Meadows, one of the UK’s foremost authorities on all-things ‘sleep’ & founder of The Sleep School was running a consultation at the Charlotte Street Hotel in partnership with Febreze, who’ve just launched what I can only describe as ‘sandman mist’ for your bedroom and sheets (though they call it Sleep Serenity)! After we concluded, I put into practise some of his tips & tricks in one of the hotel’s deliciously comfortable 6ft beds for an uninterrupted, pure night’s sleep. This post builds upon my previous article on Sleep last month, and gives a feel for Dr. Guy’s Five Secrets of Great Sleep to help your body operate at its peak when you’re working out the next day! (MORE…)
The evening kicked off at 17:30 when I was shown to my room; at the Charlotte Street Hotel, each suite enjoys its own unique and charismatic colour scheme, with a cute design montage outside the door. Though it’s totally irrelevant to the post, here’s mine :
Dr. Guy greeted me, armed with a copy of ‘The Sleep Book‘ which is now my ‘Bedtime Story’ Reading it an hour before bed ticks the box of NOT looking at my MacBook (which effectively emits artificial daylight) AND I get to sponge up the benefits of a proven ethos!
As I travelled to the event, a barrage of concerning statistics jumped out at me from the very topical front page of The Metro (London’s free morning newspaper), who’s main headline was ‘Tablets & Mobiles blamed as more than 9/10 youngsters fail to get a good night’s sleep‘; the average Brit loses 1hr 49mins struggling to fall asleep, we lose 12 days a year to that battle, 1 in 10 of us nod-off during meetings at work, and now, seemingly our beloved technology’s ‘blue light’ impairs 6/10 of us from getting the required 7-8 hours each night.
DR GUY’S THOUGHTS
Whilst I savoured a relax-and-unwind manicure from Veronica, Dr. Guy explained all… this is the key learning I picked up from our discussion:
– He teaches patients to be mindful, to notice and identify stress rather than allow themselves to get caught up in it,
– He suggests limiting (but not extinguishing) Alcohol consumption,
– It’s possible to have your two cups of coffee in the day, but make sure your last caffeine hit is finished by 13:00,
– He’s keen to promote a balanced lifestyle, and does not push patients to live a monk-like life of restraint,
– Whilst exercise releases calming endorphins and promotes relaxation, doing it late at night can disturb the quality of your sleep, so he recommends a workout during the day where possible.
– He believes that a cool bedroom promotes a more restful sleep, so suggests sleeping with a window partially open to regulate temperature.
– Scent plays a really key role in calming (I can vouch for this myself as I often burn lavender oil prior to sleeping), so he’d suggest that fragrance could play a role in the bedtime ritual – hence the Febreze partnership!
– Screen-based devices emit ‘artificial sunlight’ – he’d suggests that you ban tablets in bed to promote the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
– He’s designed a 10-part questionnaire which helps people to self-categorise their sleep style, to enable improvement – some of Febreze’s tips to help you tackle your sleep impediments are HERE.
DR. GUY’S FIVE SECRETS OF GREAT SLEEP
1) ‘Let go of props’; following on from The Metro’s article, Dr. Guy suggests that we relinquish the unnatural night-time rituals (baths, milk, sleeping pills etc), the reliance upon which can fuel sleep anxieties. Sleep’s a natural physiological process that can’t be controlled.
2) ‘Be Mindful’; I referenced this above – worrying about poor-quality sleep is self-fulfilling and will increase ‘nocturnal arousal levels’. Consciously calm yourself, breathe deeply and slowly, feel the touch of your duvet on your toes, the movement of the air in & out of the nose… these things can promote sleep. Lavender and peppermint can also help improve the mood for similar purposes.
3) ‘Save Energy’; If you wake in the middle of the night, lie in bed, stay still, conserve energy, and calm/relax yourself. Remain mindful, welcome thought and emotions, don’t struggle with them or get out of bed to avoid them.
4) ‘Welcome thoughts and emotions’; Fearful thoughts or strong sensations like anxiety can render you more awake. Dr Guy suggests you change your relationship with them, welcome them when they arrive, which helps to reduce arousal levels and lessens the sleep struggle.
5) ‘Timing and drive’; Establish a repeating routine at the same time each night, which will help the body clock keep to time, and promote your natural drive to sleep. If you nap during the day, limit it to under 20 minutes. But ensure you make time to go out and enjoy your life too!
I hope you found that interesting, and perhaps feel better armed to tackle evenings for a better night’s sleep! I was utterly restored by the event, and can vouch for some of the tips I’ve learned here! Faya x
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