For the past few years I've managed to stumble through life by going to bed late and getting up later. I've always been a night owl, and thankfully doing what I do (and having the excuse of being a Uni student) makes it somewhat acceptable for me to get work done in the AM. Unfortunately, life in general doesn't work the same way. Have you ever tried to go to the post office at two in the morning? They're not open. It's insane. Same goes for the gym, the nail salon - even the 24 hour supermarket. I'm serious. Cornwall is a weird place.
So anyway, now that I'm doing real life things in the real world, and with just a few months left of me being able to use the 'but I'm a student' excuse, I've finally decided that - after twenty three years - it's time to get myself a sleeping pattern. A real one. So for the past few weeks I've been experimenting with a million and one things in a bid to help me catch those Zs and - judging by the fact that I naturally woke up (yes, by choice) before it even got light today - I'd say I've cracked it. So without further a-do, here's how to snooze.
Stay up all night
When it came to shifting my sleeping pattern the only thing that helped kick start me into a routine was practically killing myself the night before. I used to go to bed at around 4am every single night, and get up at 10am. No matter how hard I tried to go to bed at a 'normal' time, or get up at a 'normal' time, I always failed. I would either lie in bed rolling around until my usual sleep time, or I'd get up early and end up napping half way through the day. So one night I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get myself sorted. So, I stayed up all night (minus the odd power nap) and kept myself up all day long. It was hell. But by the time 10pm came around I was exhausted, and so I fell straight to sleep. I woke up at around 7am with nine solid hours of sleep under my belt and the makings of a solid sleeping pattern.
Napping has always been a part of my daily routine - whether I'm travelling, working from home or simply out and about running errands (I once stopped for a nap at a Burger King car park whilst on my way to do a food shop). I just like to snuggle up and sleep at inappropriate times okay!? Sometimes a girl's just gotta cocoon. But not this girl! Oh no, not any more, because now I'm a fully functioning adult that can stay awake for an entire day without drifting off to sleep at every possible moment. God I miss naps. But alas, they do me no good in the long run. If I'm utterly exhausted, then sure, a little power nap won't do any harm. But when it comes to my impressive three-hour-sleeping-stints? They're long gone. Sob.
Have a reason to get up
Like I mentioned before, being a full-time blogger means that I can pretty much do my work as and when I please, which is great - don't get me wrong - but it also means that I can get a little too comfortable when it comes to my daily work routine. A few weeks ago I decided to sign up to some classes at my local gym. At first I just opted for classes at times that suited me, but it then dawned on me that if I actually had a reason to wake up, I'd be more inclined to do so. With my gym, you sign up for classes online, but you have to physically call up to cancel, making it a lot more awkward to say no if you simply can't be assed. So - what with my new sleeping pattern - i decided to sign up to a bunch of morning classes to help force me out of bed. I woke up at 6am for a spinning class. Six. In. The. Morning. I told you I've changed.
Tire yourself out
Okay so it never dawned on me exactly how tiring spin classes were. Like, wow. I knew I wasn't great at cardio but man, going to spinning class has made me feel like I have the fitness level of an eighty year old (no offence, Granddad). There's a serious difference between mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion. They're both just as hard to deal with as the other, but when you tire yourself out in both ways? Oh you are going to sleep like a baby.
Cut the caffeine
I feel like I'm one of those people that has had so much caffeine in her life that even five thousand espressos wouldn't perk me up in the morning. If I'm sleepy, I'm sleepy, and no macchiato cappuccino extra shot frappe coffee thing is ever going to change that. However a few weeks ago I decided to stop the coffee consumption at around 5pm, just to help me ind down a little more as the evenings went on, and I have to say that it really does seem to be working. I no longer have my evening slump, meaning I'm able to work semi-effectively throughout the day, right up until I go to bed.
Give aromatherapy a go
I like nice smells, but I've never really taken an interest in the benefits certain nice smells can have on the body. Now I'm not gonna go all hippy on you guys (not yet, anyway) but recently I've come across some serious hero products that have helped me drift off, even when I've been wide awake. A favourite of mine has to be the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray because - get this - it really does work. I'd heard so many internet peeps talk about this that I was so sure it had to be some sort marketing campaign. But you know what? Marketing campaign or not, this stuff is the bomb. In fact, it's so good that I've even gone and bought it in travel size as well. #Commitment.
Create the perfect space
With Ollie and I focussing more on the prospects of our new house, I've gotten a little lazy on the interior front lately. I like to make sure the rooms our guests see look nice, but when it comes to our own bedroom we've never really put much of an effort into doing it up - probably because everything nice we get our cats end up attacking. Ahem. But anyway, about our bedroom. A few weeks back I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a Denver wooden bed frame - one I actually liked - to replace our old, tatty, faux leather frame that had been torn apart by two particular felines. I loved the frame so much, i decided to deck out out with brand new sheets (all white, of course) and a bunch of decorative bits and pieces to make it that little bit more inviting. It looks so good sometimes I don't know whether I want to jump into it or simply take pictures of it (a la above).
Write down your thoughts
If you're a busy body like me, listen up - cause this shizz is going to change your life. If you're the sort of person that goes to bed with a million and one things buzzing around your head, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to simply write it all down. Before I go to bed I make sure I write down every thing I have to do the next day - including the boring crap like hoovering the lounge and washing my knickers (you know, not that I forget to do those things..). Jotting it all down on paper will help you clear your mind and let you focus on the more important things in life - like which side you're going to sleep on, or how much dribble you're going to produce that night.
Turn off technology
If you're one of those people with lots of will power, then 100% do turn off your technology. But, if you kind of rely on all things electronic to survive like I do, try turning down the brightness of your gadgets as the evening goes on instead. I always try (emphasis on the word try) to turn off my computer at least an hour before going to bed, just so I can start to wind down for the night ahead. This does mean that I no longer get my nightly fix of Candy Crush, but whatever, I'm a real adult now guys.
Feel good about going to bed
I'm not saying you should give yourself a full blown facial before heading off to he land of nod, but one thing I always like to do is to make myself actually look and feel good about going to bed. This means clean skin, a nice (but not too nice) messy bun/up do, moisturised limbs, a spritz of my favourite perfume and - of course - a fresh set of PJs. Think about it. Do you ever want to go on a night out if you feel you look like crap? Probably not. So make that little bit of effort each night to get yourself feeling good about going to bed. Sure, you might wake up with crusty drool up your face the next morning, but hey, it adds character.
What's your sleeping pattern like? Please tell me I'm not the only Burger King car park napper!