Tag Archives: sleep

A Perfect Bedtime Routine

Up until the end of last year, I was working shifts including a block of 7 nights every 6 weeks, so my body clock tended to be all over the place. Since then, even though I’ve been trying to maintain a reasonably regular bedtime routine, I’ve struggled to get to sleep and frequently wake at least once during the night. Then come morning, I’m grumpy because I still feel tired. So I was very pleased to be offered a free sleep goody pack from Nytol.

#SayGoodnytol goodie bundle

I received the following products.
Lifebee Wake Up Light alarm clock
50ml Nytol Anti-Snoring throat spray
Boots £10 gift card (to purchase Nytol Herbal Simply Sleep One-a-Night tablets)
Eye mask

So I popped along to Boots to buy a packet of the Nytol Herbal Simply Sleep One-a-Night. This consisted of 21 tablets, currently at an RRP of £5.99, for which the recommended dose is one tablet, 30 – 60 minutes before bedtime. The tablets contain Valerian root extract, traditionally used for decades to induce sleep and promote calmness. The packet does warn you that as the effects may not occur immediately, the tablets should be taken continuously for 2-4 weeks. I decided to take the full packet before telling you what I thought of them.

Nytol Herbal Simply Sleep One-A-Night

I hadn’t heard of Valerian root and my initial reaction on opening the packet was that I didn’t particular like the smell of the tablets. But no problem, swallow it quickly. The first two nights that I took them coincided with particularly bad headaches and unfortunately they didn’t help me to sleep better. But after that, things improved significantly and I found I was soon sleeping through the night without waking. What a bonus. However I don’t want to take sleeping tablets on a regular basis, so I was pleased to note that Nytol products are aimed at relieving temporary sleep disturbances and helping you get back into a healthy sleeping rhythm.

One of the other things that can bug me when I’m struggling to sleep, is if my partner is snoring away. It just makes it so much harder for me to get to sleep. Luckily he doesn’t snore every night. So when I saw the Anti-Snoring throat spray, I asked him to test it out, but sadly he refused, so I can’t comment on how effective that is. However a 50ml pack is available from pharmacies and grocery stores with an RRP of £12.99 currently.

Both these Nytol products are only suitable for those aged over 18 years.

Lifebee Wake Up Light alarm clock

And finally I must tell you about the Lifebee Wake Up Light alarm clock. I was surprised that I had to install batteries (not included) but apparently this is just for a backup power source in case the electricity is down. However what was slightly more disappointing  was that its power adaptor was missing. Luckily it also came with a USB cable, so I have been using that instead. The Lifebee has both a sunrise wake up light simulation and a sunset light, with a choice of 6 different nature sounds or radio for the alarm. It also has a full spectrum of colour choices for the light. I tried them all, but settled on the basic white as my preferred choice. I do like these type of products. We already have a Lumie Bodyclock which I mentioned on my blog last year, so this one will now be going in my son’s room.


6 things to do in the 30 minutes before bed to help get a better night’s sleep.

With a constant bombardment of emails, texts and social media alerts via our mobile devices keeping us plugged in for longer, the Nytol sleep study (carried out in December 2017) reveals that nearly half of us admit that we now have no bedtime routine at all, or that our current routines could be improved significantly.

As a result, many of us have inadequate psychological recovery and go to bed with racing, muddled minds. Statistics show that 38% of people say they lie awake at night fretting about their worries and almost a third confess that a lack of sleep has caused them to fall asleep at work the next day.

With almost 1 in 5 people admitting they feel tired everyday due to a lack of sleep, Dr Neil Stanley shares the six things you should do in the 30 minutes before bed to help you re-establish a good sleep routine:

  • 30 minutes. Use that last half hour to prepare for sleep and start by completing any final tasks for the day. Send that last email, pay that gas bill you’ve been meaning to pay all day and try and put aside any cares and concerns you have. Write down your worries and your to do list for tomorrow and then that’s it. Research conducted by Baylor University in Texas discovered that people who took 5 minutes to write down their to do lists before bed found it easier to drop off to sleep.
  • 25 minutes. Reduce your exposure to blue light – blue light is known to suppress the release of melatonin, which is the body’s signal that it is time for sleep. Therefore, using screens before bed will disrupt sleep. Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 of us check social media before going to be so try and put your phone, laptop or tablet down, and if you need to use your phone for your morning alarm then turn it over, or pop it in your bedside drawer to avoid being disturbed. However, it is not just blue light that can affect our sleep, it has been shown that even ‘paper white’ screens can also be disturbing, so avoid light levels above a normal lightbulb.
  • 20 minutes. Do brush your teeth and remove your make-up well in advance of getting in to bed, so that you are not left feeling alert at the time you want to be relaxing into bed. This can also act as a cue that the body should be preparing itself for sleep.
  • 15 minutes. Take a 5-minute hot shower. Not only is this relaxing, but by heating the periphery of our body it actually helps us cool down. This is important because in order to get good sleep we need to lose about 1oC of body temperature. Only 12% of people have a bath or a shower before they go to sleep so give it a go and see if it makes a difference.
  • 10 minutes. Conclude any activities you need to do before getting in to bed, such as visiting the bathroom so that you’re not having to get in and out of bed to run to the toilet. A staggering 42% of people say they don’t get enough sleep because they need the toilet in the night so make this one of the last things you do before bed.
  • 5 minutes. Bed means sleep and at the end of the 30 minutes it is time for bed – no more chatting to your partner or scrolling through Facebook! The bed should be for sleeping only and so when you get into it, it should be with the sole purpose of going to sleep and nothing else.

Dr Neil Stanley is an independent freelance sleep expert and has been involved in sleep research for more than 35 years. He started his career at the Neurosciences Division of the R.A.F. Institute of Aviation Medicine then moved to the Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit (HPRU), part of the University of Surrey, and in 1993 was the Director of Sleep Research and created and ran a 24 bed sleep laboratory designed for clinical trials. In 2004 he received a PhD from the University of Surrey on the basis of my published works and has published 38 peer-review papers on various aspects of sleep research and psychopharmacology. He does not endorse any brands.

I shall have to try these suggestions, as I’m particularly guilty of using screens before bedtime. Do let me know if you give them a go too. And I’d love to hear your sleep tips.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

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Guest post: Top Tips to Help Your Kids to Sleep Through the Night

Getting kids to sleep at sensible times can be a right chore, my nieces and nephews constantly protest with ‘Oh but one more episode pleeaassee!’ and whilst they do eventually do what they’re told, mornings are another story. How on earth kids can be alert at silly o’clock, I will never know! Although some parents dread bedtime…routine needs to be encouraged to help reduce odd sleeping patterns, so their bodies get the proper rest they need. So, as we enter the time of year where it gets lighter earlier, here are some useful tips to get your little ones sleeping sound at and to a suitable time!

Reduce Activity Before Bed

Let's play

Photo Credit: Unsplash

It’s common for children to wind down during the evening by watching TV on the sofa or playing on the computer, however this could be what is preventing them from getting some quality shut eye. Melatonin is a hormone which makes you sleepy and less alert, however the blue and white light that gadget screens emit tricks the brain into thinking its day time. Therefore, it is recommended that screens are avoided at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, why not encourage reading? This is a fabulous way to destress little ones and calm them before bed and ensuring they sleep for longer. Yet Another Blogging Mummy has reviewed some great books with her children here if you need inspiration.

Furthermore, if they lay awake at night there are also some things you could be doing to help them become sleepy. For example, place glow in the dark stars on the ceiling for them to count when laying in bed. Much like counting sheep, this should have them sleepy in no time!

Create the Right Sleeping Environment

sleeping child

Photo Credit: Unsplash

If there are too many distractions in a child’s room, this could be another reason why they aren’t able to go back to sleep when they wake in the morning or even get to sleep in the first place. Try to limit the number of things in your little one’s room and take out all technology! This way they will be discouraged from getting out of bed and playing with their toys at night or in the morning.

Routines can also be ‘tweaked’ to help your child adjust to an earlier bedtime, especially when we will be getting lighter evenings with daylight saving happening on 25th March.  I read a great tip from fellow blogger Vic Welton recently advising you to bring your child’s bedtime routine forward by 10 minutes each day. It’s not a huge difference but will help to gradually get them used to a bedtime where it’s perhaps lighter than they have been used to.

Also, consider comfort. Little ones might not be able to tell you if they are too hot, their room is too bright, or their mattress is uncomfortable. 100% Cotton bedsheets are the best option for keeping cool in summer and when choosing a mattress it is important that children sleep with their spine and bones aligned to reduce fidgeting. Ensure the space is properly dark with appropriate blinds or black out curtains so the sunshine, if we ever get it in England, doesn’t encourage an early riser!

There are many great nightlights which can help to teach your child when it is OK to get up. For example, the Gro Clock has a light up sun emblem which only shows at a pre-set time.

Increase Daytime Activities

sun light

Photo Credit: Unsplash

The more daylight your child can take in during the day the better as this will help produce more melatonin throughout the night. Much like cutting screen-time an hour before bedtime, it is recommended that energy drinks and other forms of caffeine should be avoided during the afternoon and evening time. This way your little one might be able to sleep easier and deeper.

Encourage outdoor activities to get them exercising too, maybe a trip to the park or how about a bicycle ride? In Brighton, we have an undercliff where you can walk from the Marina to Ovingdean where you can have a nice cup of tea or an ice cream on a sunny day… definitely an incentive for the little ones! Plus, the sea air has so many health benefits which is great for the whole family.

Sleep is super important for growth and general health for those of all ages, so ensure your little ones are getting that quality shut eye after long day! Do you have any other tips and tricks that could help encourage a good night sleep for kids? Please share in the comments!

Guest post by Nathalie Martin – blogger at http://www.helpimgettingmarried.com

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Win the gift of sleep

Would you like the gift of a good night’s sleep? Then read on for details of a great prize.

Tweak Slumber Sleep Kit

To celebrate the launch of the new Tweak website, I have a lovely sleep kit to give away, which includes a luxury lavender candle, room spray, sleep spray, sleep tea and an eye mask – perfect for a relaxing night’s sleep.

These prizes are supplied by Tweak, who have come up with the answer to a better night’s sleep with their innovative Duo Mattress. Ideal for couples who can now choose the right firmness rating on each side. The Duo Mattress comes with 3 foam inserts in soft, medium and firm.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top sleep tips.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any products.  All opinions are my own.

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HelloSkin skincare plus giveaway

I was very pleased to be offered the chance to choose a selection of 3 products from HelloSkin free to review. The lady at HelloSkin had seen that I have previously blogged about Flexitol footcare products which is a line they stock.

HelloSkin products

HelloSkin is an online store selling skincare products suitable for those people with psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry skin conditions. The site has been designed so that you can easily shop by need, type or ingredient. Alternatively there is a product finder which is refinable by age group, body part, symptom, need and when to use.

I initially chose the following three products
DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet
Moisturising Cotton Sleep Socks
Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner

But as my first choice of socks were out of stock at the time, I swapped to
Jasmine 100% Silk Moisturising Socks for dry and cracked skin

The products were dispatched on a next day service and arrived well-packed. I spotted that they also offer a free standard delivery service, which I always appreciate.

DermaTherapy fitted sheet

So I’ll start with the DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet which is billed as being the first clinically proven Therapeutic Bedding. I chose this in a king size which currently retails for £84.95 but it is also available in single and double sizes. The fabric feels amazingly smooth compared to standard sheets, but to really understand this, you should look at the zoomed in image of the weave. The HelloSkin website focusses on the benefits for those with sensitive skin conditions, but the packaging also indicates that it is ideal for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Pity I hadn’t heard about it a few years earlier, as when son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia, I thought I was making the right choice to buy best quality pure Egyptian cotton bedsheets for him.

They also stock duvet covers, pillow case, flat sheets and sleep sacs. I tend to often wake up sweaty in the middle of the night and I found that this sheet is very effective at wicking away heat and moisture. Now I just need the rest of the range, as my ordinary duvet meant I was still sweaty above, although much more comfortable underneath. Significantly more expensive than standard bedding, but definitely worth the investment for those that it helps to a much better night’s sleep in my opinion. It is 50% polyester and 50% polyamide and is so easy to fit on your mattress compared to most sheets. I actually had to double check the packet to make sure I hadn’t accidentally got super-king rather than king size. I washed it on a 60 degree cycle and tumble-dried it on low. It came out almost crease-free, so I didn’t even need to iron. And the packaging indicates that it will withstand washing upto 90 degrees.

Jasmine Silk Socks

Next the socks, which fit size 3-7. I’ve been planning to get a pair of moisturising socks for ages, but had never got round to it. The idea behind moisturising socks is to apply your usual footcare product and then the socks will help the absorption whilst you sleep. I’m loving these. I can definitely say they work. I’ve blogged before about how dry and cracked my feet are, as per image on left. Well I’ve seen a marked improvement in the mornings since I started wearing the socks, as per image on right. At £7.99 for a pair, they are great value in my opinion. Wish I’d got some sooner. Although the socks are silk, they can still be machine washed on a low 30 degree setting, but I chose to hand-wash them.

Neutrogena T/Gel Dandruff Shampoo

And finally the shampoo. I frequently get a flare up of flaky scalp and have tried many different brands of anti-dandruff shampoo, but this is the first time, I’ve tried this brand. At the time of testing, I only had a very mild case of dandruff (as per top left image), which I’m happy to say it treated. I do prefer using combined shampoo and conditioner like this rather than two separate products. This shampoo lathered up well and also had a nice fragrance and my hair felt soft and tangle-free afterwards. This was the 125ml size which currently retails for £3.99 and it is also available in a 250ml size. More expensive than most shampoo at the supermarket but competitive with salon brands.

So in summary, I was very happy with all three products and will certainly be using this site in the future.

Also I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your next purchase at HelloSkin with discount code: “HELLOCLAIRE”. This offer is valid once per customer.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway HelloSkin products to three lucky winners. The first winner drawn will win a DermaTherapy fitted sheet in their preferred choice of size. The second winner drawn will win a pair of Jasmine Silk Moisturising Socks. And the third winner drawn will win a bottle of  Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top skincare tips.

You can find HelloSkin on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

How to relieve sleep disturbances, plus giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may have heard me mention previously that I am a shiftworker. This means that I have to adjust my body clock whenever I work nights. I usually find it okay adapting from day to night, but very hard adjusting back to days afterwards, feeling tired and irritable. So I was delighted to be given a chance to try out some sleep goodies for free.

Sleep goodies including wake-up light

I received the following products.
Lumie Bodyclock
Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate
Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam
Pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals

First up is the Lumie Bodyclock, a wake-up light. My other half used to use something similar by another brand, but it broke about a year ago. He really misses it, so we were both very keen to try this one out. It was well packed and all I needed to do was install the light bulb, plug in, set the time and alarm.

Lumie Bodyclock Wake-up light

It does both a gradual 30 minute sunrise and sunset, with an optional audible alarm. The sunrise and sunset features were great but I didn’t like the alarm sound. It was too harsh for me with no choice to change to a gentler sound. Although I’m sure some people appreciate a loud alarm in the morning. Our previous wake-up light had a range of natural sounds like bird song. However on the positive side, the Lumie Bodyclock was a lot simpler to operate than our old one.

Then the Hot Chocolate. This is a malted variant including Barley malt extract on the ingredients. You just need to add hot milk. We all found it to be a very yummy drink. Malted drinks are ideal at bedtime. For a good night’s sleep, you certainly want to avoid stimulants like caffeine. I try to only drink decaffeinated tea and coffee anyhow.

Whittard Hot Chocolate

Next the bath foam. It felt so lovely relaxing in a bath with this and smelt divine. I was very chilled and ready for bed after my bath. I’ve always known that lavender is reputed to have calming and relaxing properties. Years ago I used to make lavender bags, primarily aimed at putting in my clothes drawers, but I used to scatter them round the bedroom too.

And lastly the mini journals. At just 6.5 x 10.5cm, there is plenty of space on my bedside table for one of these to jot down any thoughts or worries I may have whilst trying to go to sleep. A great idea that I’ve never thought of previously.


One in three people suffer from poor sleep and it’s often identified by feelings of tiredness, low energy and irritability. However, worryingly, it can also lead to impaired judgement, reduced memory, and even a reduction in life expectancy.
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can have a considerable negative impact on quality of life and a good night’s sleep is essential to allow us to feel refreshed and ready to perform at our best every day. See here for why lack of sleep is bad for your health.

Here’s a list of 10 Things to Relieve Sleep Disturbances.

Try these lifestyle changes and you might find a good night’s sleep a lot less elusive. For some people it could be enough to fully address their sleeping problems. There’s certainly quite a few that I ought to address myself, particularly the no smart phone in the bedroom.

  • Always get up at the same time – even at the weekend.
    It might seem like you need a lie in to make up for the sleep you haven’t got, but to break a cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.
  • Avoid catnaps during the day.
    It’ll only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.
  • Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks.
    Alcohol won’t help you sleep properly. If you are having trouble cutting out caffeine, set yourself a time in the day past which you don’t have it.
  • Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles.
    Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.
  • Exercise during the day.
    Exercising at night will actually make you more awake and you’ll find it harder to get to sleep.
  • Get to bed at the same time every night.
    It’ll help your body prepare itself for sleep.
  • Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.
    No TV, no smart phones!
  • Alleviate your worries.
    Try writing them down before you go to bed.
  • Don’t lie there frustrated.
    If you can’t sleep, get up and do something (non-strenuous) for a while.

Kalms Night and Kalms Night One-A-Night are traditional herbal medicinal products used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances, exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy – Contains Valerian Root. Always read the leaflet.

To offer assurance that Kalms Night meets the Traditional Herbal registration (THR) requirements, the Certification Mark can be found on the product packaging.

Kalms Night tablets
Kalms Night tablets are available to purchase online at www.kalmsrange.com and supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
Kalms Night RRP: £4.89 for 50 tablets, Kalms One-A-Night RRP £5.19 for 21 tablets.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a hamper of sleep goodies to one lucky winner.  The prize comprises a Lumie Bodyclock, Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate, Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam and a pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals. What a great prize.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

The prize is one hamper as detailed above to be sent to the winner directly from the prize sponsor. Available to UK residents over 18. The winner will be chosen wthin 5 days of the competition ending and has 28 days to acknowledge their win. Please allow 28 days for delivery. Should any issues arise I will do my utmost to help resolve this. the competition will run until the 08/04/17. Please make sure to enter options carefully and fully, any incorrect entries will be void, I do check.

I’d love to hear your sleep tips.

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Disclosure. I am working in collaboration with Kalms and I was provided with the #wakeupready sleep hamper to assist with writing this post and hosting the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

A good night’s sleep

Son1 always has great difficulty getting to sleep and almost every night is still awake well after 9pm and occasionally even when I go to bed. I think it is probably due to a combination of his nightly chemotherapy and an overactive mind. I can often hear him climbing out of bed to look at things in his room and sometimes he comes back downstairs. This is particularly the case if he wants a drink or snack once his hour is up. He isn’t allowed anything except water for an hour either side of his nightly chemotherapy and the timing of this, usually means he has to go to bed without the glass of milk that he really wants.

He has a high sleeper bed, so I was interested to hear about a new product called a Night Night Pocket which ties onto the bed rail and is strong enough to hold the weight of a drink bottle and books. We have received one free to review.

Night Night Pocket

It is made of strong sturdy 100% cotton material with four long wide velcro straps. Very easy to install and I could immediately see it was not going to fall off. It has two pockets – one for a drink bottle and a larger one for books, toys, torch, soother, etc or whatever else a child might want in bed.

Night Night Pocket

I discussed with son1 what he would like to put in it for his first night and we agreed on a water bottle, a book and a torch. He found it straight-foward to lean over to take things out or put them back in the pockets, even in the dark (although we did take the photos with the light on).

Night Night Pocket

I’m quite happy for him to read in bed, especially if it helps him to fall asleep. Much more preferable to when I find his iPod Touch under the pillow the next morning, even though we have a house rule of no electronic devices in the boys’ bedrooms. I believe these stimulate the brain, which is not helpful at bedtime.

So this is a great product in my opinion for assisting your child in getting a good night’s sleep and you too, as it should reduce those night-time calls of “mum, I need a drink”. We have previously attempted placing a water bottle on his bed near the pillow, but it hasn’t worked since it tends to slip between the bars in the night and fall to the floor.

The Night Night Pocket currently retails at £24.99 including P&P or may be purchased via Amazon and Kiddicare and is available in navy blue stripes or pink with polka dots. It is not recommended for use on cots. Slightly more expensive than I would have expected, but worth it from the point of view of an undisturbed night.

Night Night Pocket

Night Night Pocket

I’d love to hear what are your top tips for getting your children to sleep.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.