Tried and tested express tickets to dreamland.
Struggling to get enough shuteye? You’re not alone. The Singapore Medical Journal reports a high prevalence of insomnia in more than 50 per cent of the population in industrialised countries such as Singapore and the United States. And that is in normal times. Developments in the ongoing pandemic and the disrupted daily routines only add on to the “sleep-robbing stress”, according to the Harvard Gazette, adding that if you really can’t sleep, “don’t force it”. Instead, start with filling your bedroom and nightly routine with items so dreamy, you can’t help but sigh and sink deep into relaxation.
Or should we say “sleep potion”? Our founder Hidayah swears by Lush’s Sleepy body lotion for taming anxiety before bedtime and she’s not the only one - the Internet is filled with reviews from happy customers who struggle with their mental health. With ingredients like oat milk, lavender water, lavender flower infusion, almond oil, tonka absolute and cocoa butter, to say that it smells and feels divine is an understatement. If you like, you can take a shower with the Sleepy shower gel or a bath with the same-scent Twilight bath bomb from Lush before lathering on the lotion. Maximum bliss.
Did you know that you’re most sensitive to smell at night? Studies show smell sensitivity is at its peak at around 9pm, which is what your body perceives as nighttime. So if you want to set the mood for bed, you’ll want to eliminate unpleasant smells by this time (use a HEPA air purifier like the ones sold by GermGuardian especially if you have allergies) and introduce a relaxing scent to the area. Aroma Tech, an American company that designs scent journeys for companies like Apple, Lululemon and Fairmont Hotels, recommends chamomile, lavender and rose for their relaxing, anxiety-relief properties. You can introduce scent to your routine in two easy ways - pop a few drops of essential oil in an aroma diffuser (like this simple one by Iuiga) or, if you have therapeutic-grade oil, swipe some on your wrists and neck.
Blue Gold Sleep Story on Calm
We can’t get enough of lavender over here so just the idea of a bedtime story about lavender fields is enough to make us swoon. Seriously though, if you haven’t downloaded the Calm app - do it now. The Sleep Stories are nothing short of magical and one of the best ones, Blue Gold narrated by Stephen Fry, is currently free. Close your eyes and let Britain’s national treasure and narrator of all the Harry Potter books transport you to the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence. Even if we wanted to tell you how it ends, we can’t - we’re typically asleep by the end of the 24 minutes.
You’ve probably heard of “moon milk”, a delicious and soothing beverage that has its roots in Ayurvedic healing. But did you know that there is no one recipe for it? It really depends on the ingredients you can get your hands on, how much time you have to make it and of course, your personal taste. Hidayah’s version is a concoction that takes just five minutes to prepare - hot milk with honey and a teaspoon of a powdered blend from Anthony the Spicemaker that contains turmeric and black pepper for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil makes a gorgeous “blue moon milk” (pictured) using cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and blue pea flower powder, as well as powdered ashwaganda, an adaptogen said to promote relaxation and healing.
Do you sleep with a night light on? You might want to rethink it. Studies have shown that total darkness is best for sleep quality and that light exposure during sleep may even be linked to depression. If you live in or near the city, it could be time to invest in blackout curtains, but the next best thing is a quality eyeshade that fits well, shuts out light and is made of a material like silk that’s gentle on the skin. The best part is you can take it anywhere you might need a nap - like in the car on a road trip, on the plane (we can dream, yes?), in your rest room at work or even the garden when you want to sunbathe but also want a snooze.
Coping Cards for Isolation
Haven’t been able to sleep worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow, next month, even next year? We feel you. 2020 has been a scary, difficult year for several reasons and the rate of anxiety attacks and sleeplessness are shooting through the roof. Before easing into your bedtime routine, do yourself a favour and meditate on your thoughts and worries for a couple of minutes. Reflect on the day that has past and think about how tomorrow can be better. Download our free Coping Cards for Isolation and use them as a guide. Hopefully with a clearer head and lighter heart, it’ll be easier to nod off.