I am a five-a-day girl. Five hours of sleep a night, that is.
My sleep issues started when I was in my mid-twenties, thanks to work stress and imposter syndrome – and they’ve been ever present in my life since. Safe to say, 2020 hasn’t helped matters.
I have no trouble falling asleep. A mere two pages into a book and I’m nodding off – I’m reading Troy by Stephen Fry at the moment and it’s excellent so can’t be blamed. The problem is staying asleep. I wake at 3am-ish most nights and remain awake and restless for the next two or three hours, before falling back asleep 30 minutes before my alarm goes off. I then mainline coffee to get through the day, while trying not to overeat, dose off at my desk or, god forbid, look in the mirror.
I am not unique. Pre-pandemic, two thirds of UK adults suffered from disrupted sleep, with one in five managing no more than five hours a night. That’ll be me then. Since coronavirus hit, a staggering 70 per cent of Brits have reported unfavourable changes to their sleep patterns. Insomnia, it seems, is the pandemic of the pandemic.
If this sounds familiar and, like me, you wake up exhausted and spend your days tired but wired, here are some crutches that I have found helpful. I have tried THE LOT over the years – sleeping tablets, natural remedies, hypnotherapy and every pillow spray invented, for starters – and these are by far the best I’ve come across.
Aroma Active Laboratories Sleep Mist
Sleep sprays, I have tried them all. Most smell overpoweringly of lavender to a degree that they provoke coughing-fits – and that is not conducive to decent shut-eye. This one is special though. It doesn’t overwhelm like a traditional pillow spray, it just smells lovely and light. I spray it on my pillow when I wake at night. You genuinely think it will do nothing – I still believe that even though I know! – and then you start to feel like you’ve been hit with a tranquillizer dart. It’s that good.
Disciple CBD Miracle Drops
I’ve wanged on about this product before, because it works. If you’re feeling fretful, anxious and worried about what you haven’t done that day – or about what’s coming the next – then these drops are for you.
I keep them on my bedside for the nights when my brain won’t switch off. It’s usually when I have a lot of work on, am juggling too many things and continually panicking that I’m going to drop the ball. They don’t make you high or stoned – they just make you relax, stop tossing and turning and quieten your mind. They taste very earthy though, so make sure you have a glass of water on your bedside as a chaser.
The Daily Podcast
This New York Times podcast is like my bedtime meditation session. Each episode is a 30-minute update of the day’s news – American and global – delivered by the political journalist, Michael Barbaro. I have no idea what Barbaro looks like IRL. Still, his modulated smoky voice and idiosyncratic intonation (irritating to some, endearing to others) calms me down and takes my mind off irritating sleep-blockers such as my to-do list.
Life Extension Extend-Release Magnesium Caps
If you have any issues with sleeping, then you should be taking magnesium supplements, because you almost certainly won’t be getting enough of this mineral from your diet. Magnesium is proven to relax muscles, calm the mind and induce sleep. It also improves the quality of your sleep – making the most of what you get. I take these supplements once a day, and in the morning, so I never forget. Remember, they only work if you take them consistently.
Full disclosure: Jo Jones works independently of all brands listed. The Flock has an affiliate partnership with Cult Beauty that may be automatically applied, independently of Jo, to sales on that site. All other links on this page are affiliate-free.