Hi, I’m Jess and I want more sleep! In fact, I’ve always wanted more sleep (who doesn’t?!) and just as I got to an age where my weekend mornings were mine, as an adult – no more teen weekend job, no more “do you know what time it is?” from mum and with hedonistic nights/ghastly hangovers behind me – I went and threw small people into the mix and out the window went all my sweet, slumbering dreams.
I never thought I had any ‘major’ sleep problems, beyond just wanting more. But, as part of my partnership with IKEA Sleep Hub I was forced to take a deeper look at my sleep-habits and really dissect the areas that were leading me to feel sleep-deprived – beyond the sleep-thieves I brought into this world! After all, a lack of sleep can hugely impact us physically and emotionally throughout the day, not to mention, Shouty-Mummy is more likely to make an appearance.
Following research (carried out by IKEA) it turns out 63% of people are unhappy with the amount of sleep they get. So, IKEA are on a mission to help the nation value their sleeping life as much as their waking lives.
They’ve created the IKEA Sleep Hub – an online resource with tips, advice and questionnaires – to get the nation peacefully slumbering (ideally in an IKEA styled bedroom!).
The Sleep Doctor
As part of my collaboration, I chatted with Dr Guy Meadows a.k.a ‘The Sleep Doctor’ – co-founder of The Sleep School – about my ‘Sleep Story’.
- The Beginning: This is where all my good ideas – things I’ve forgotten, best writing, greatest business plans – want to flood my brain. It’s as if my pillow flips a switch to my creativity, coming alive with (quite possibly non-nonsensical) ideas. Needless to say, wading through the plethora of ‘world-changing’ concepts can be a hindrance to a quick transfer to the Land of Nod.
- The Middle: Once I’m asleep it might just take a tap dancing herd of rhinos in the bedroom to disturb my rest. This is the good bit!
- The End: In short, I don’t want it to be the end. I want to sleep until my body gently rouses my senses, probably around 8am (too late for the school run with no chance of a productive day!). I’ve never been a ‘morning person’ and have always been a huge fan of the snooze button.
IKEA has partnered with Dr Guy to provide expertise in training its co-workers on the science of sleep and building the IKEA Sleep Hub‘s bank of sleep knowledge. Now when you pop in-store, you can not only nab yourself some Scandinavian style icons with a side-order of meatballs, you can receive expert tips on getting the best night’s sleep from the IKEA team. Just when I thought IKEA couldn’t get any better, they upped their sleeping game!
My Sleep Prescription
After our chat, Dr Guy compiled a ‘Sleep Treatment Plan’ – a list of perfectly implementable and practical actions to better my sleep. Here’s just a few of the tips Dr Guy mentioned, which I either hadn’t really considered previously, or, have proved to be the most effective.
- Don’t Go Towards The Light: As the evening progresses (read: as the kids finally go to bed!), use lamps to light rooms dimly; from 6pm ensure phone is switched to ‘Night Shift’ to minimise exposure to blue light; turn the TV brightness down a few notches and have dimmer switches (lowered for bed times) on bathroom lights and bedside lamps. All great ways to tell your brain that it needs to start thinking about shutting off.
- Eat on Time: aim to eat all your food within a 12-hour window (if you have breakfast at 8am, make sure you’ve eaten dinner and, of course, pudding by 8pm), as this helps with your body’s 24 circadian clock (google it, I’m far from an expert!). This is something I didn’t even realise I was doing. We (the adults of the house) usually eat dinner around 9pm (I know, late!) due to wanting a bit of peace while we eat; then, I like to eat breakfast once the school run is done, about 9.15am) – again, for a bit of a peace once all the kids are out the house.
- Up-Time: I’ve always been a fan of a pitch-black bedroom, to the point we even have 2x black out blinds, but this was prohibiting my body from knowing it was morning. Allowing just a smidge of daylight into the room, has allowed my body to gradually wake up with the sun, making for a less spiky me come 7am.
- Repay the Sleep Debt: This one was my favourite suggestion from Dr Guy. Once or twice a week give yourself a ‘catch up’ night. Aim to go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier than usual. Instead of hoping against all odds that you’ll be able to have that lie-in in the morning, have it the night before!
After a few weeks of giving Dr Guys Sleep Treatment Plan a whirl it’s safe to say, he knows what he’s doing. I’m by no means perfect, and haven’t rigidly stuck to every word of the plan (sorry Dr Guy) – but such is life and, baby steps!
Confession time, I was really lucky that IKEA lent a helping hand in implementing a few of Dr Guy’s tips, by gifting some of their bedroom products. If you’ve been paying attention to my instagram stories, you *may have heard me mention (*I haven’t shut up) about the beautiful, dimmable bedside light – it’s quite honestly a thing of joy and art. In addition to this, I chose a sleek, natural wood bedside table; a selection of cosy throws and cushions; a new set of 100% cotton bedding (to help regulate temperature during the night) and a potted Aloe Vera plant. Did you know a single aloe can purify up to 10m2 of air?!
All the newness spurred me on to spruce up the bedroom and what a difference just a lick of paint and a few new bits can make to a space. It now feels like a retreat away from family life and, I can’t believe I’m this person now, I want to lift the blinds every morning to fall in love with the space all over again!
For more info on how you can get a better night’s sleep, head over to the IKEA Sleep Hub. This post has been sponsored by IKEA who also kindly gifted the items photographed – but, as always, all opinions and anecdotes are truthful and my own.