Meri Paterson

The ideas business and other interests

More sleep, less stress, please!

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Sleep is having another mini-revival. I remember first hearing about the importance of good sleep (from a non-medical source) when Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive came out in 2014. I only read the book this year, but I remember having being intrigued by the idea and hearing about it from other people. Usually business people like to brag about how little sleep they need, and how Napoleon- or Thatcher-like that makes them. Arianna Huffington was saying the opposite, and I liked it.

Now Arianna is back with another book on sleep, and I’ve been inspired to try and improve my sleep, too.

Sleep is one of the great luxuries of life, I think. I often look forward to going to bed during the day, and I imagine with relish the moment of slipping between the sheets, and letting all of the body’s pressure points loosen up. I’ve always been quite a good sleeper, too, apart from having the occasional sleepless night due to stress.

In the last few years, however, I’ve started sleeping worse. I think it’s partly that there’s more stress in my life. And some part of it is definitely to do with my bed. I’ve replaced the mattress and the pillows, but something still isn’t right, and I keep waking up in the middle of the night because I’m uncomfortable or my arms have gone to sleep.

I’m trying magic

Deep sleep, less stress

‘Refresh and calm your senses so you stress less’

So I felt that Arianna was giving me tacit permission to spend £12 on this magic oil from This Works that promises to enhance your sleep and rid you of stress. I have never been able to tell whether aromatherapy is woo woo or not. I think it probably is nonsense scientifically speaking, but may well work psychosomatically. The results after a week of applying this cure to my pulse points at bedtime, and inhaling the vapours, are inconclusive:

  1. It smells nice.
  2. I like to visualise my brain gently falling into stressless sleep as the chemicals reach it.
  3. On the down side, it’s easy to rub it all over the sheets in the first five minutes, and attempts to prevent this make me look silly in the eyes of the person I share the bed with. :S
  4. I haven’t experienced any actual improved sleep.

I’m trying naps

Yes. That’s how selflessly dedicated I am. Naps are actually now being rebranded slightly and aren’t just for the idle anymore. Even a short snooze can apparently help to patch up a bad night’s sleep and improve cognitive function, and they’re good for long life, and creativity, and just about anything. At Huffington Post they have nap rooms!

The other day I was listening to Arianna Huffington’s interview on one of my favourite podcasts, Happier by Gretchen Rubin, and so inspired by her nap-praising was I that last Friday evening, I took a nap for the first time in a long time. As a sidenote, they may not have an image problem in that you’re branded lazy for taking them, but they’re not super sexy either, according to my fiancé:

Cool naps

The reason I don’t normally take naps is that they make it very hard for me to fall asleep at night. It doesn’t seem to matter how long the nap is or how long before bedtime I take it, it always disrupts my sleep. Sadly, this time was no exception. I was up till two AM. Still, I did feel pretty good straight after the nap. Maybe I could train myself to cope with a rigorous napping routine.

And I’m trying a new pillow

For the first time that I can remember, I have opted for an ‘extra firm’ pillow from John Lewis. I have slept on it for one night, and it was fine, although not an instant fix. At least now when I get up my head doesn’t leave a deep impression in the middle of the pillow. Sigh. It’s tough to have such a humongously large brain.

Hopefully one of these cures will take.

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