Saturday, 22 June 2013

Sleep aid study with Silent Night.

A number of years ago, before meeting Lee and having Bug, when I was suffering from depression I suffered from insomnia.  All I wanted to do was curl up under my duvet and hibernate, the longing to get some sleep was excruciating.  My dark thoughts and mind filled with worries banished sleep from my life.

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep”

Thankfully as I overcame my depression, feeling better in myself and stronger mentally and emotionally the sweet relief of sleep was once more in my life.  Getting a night’s sleep was pure joy and it felt amazing to wake up in the morning after having slept rather than have spent the night wake in desperate need of sleep.

Since that dark period of my life my sleep has improved but I do find that at times when I am worried about things in life I struggle to get to sleep, allowing the worrying thought race round my head instead of relaxing and letting my worries slip away as I fall asleep.  Thankfully my sleeping issues never get extreme anymore and even though at times I struggle to get to sleep I do not spend the night awake and always drift off to sleep without being awake for too long.

When I was pregnant with Bug I was often exhausted, being especially tired with constant morning sickness throughout my pregnancy and relished every second of sleep I could get and would fall asleep snuggled with Lee on the sofa as we were watching the TV.  Towards the end of my pregnancy I did find it difficult to get comfortable to sleep but thankfully a comfy pregnancy pillow helped ease my body aches allowing me to get a good night’s sleep…..that is a good night’s sleep interrupted by frequent visits to the toilet.

Then Bug was born and my world of blissful nights of sleep was turned upside down.

“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one”
Author Leo.J.Burke

From when he was first born Bug has been a night owl and not a big sleeper.  He would hardly nap in the day, perhaps having a quick cat nap every now and again, and then it seemed when the sky darkened and the stars shined Bug came alive, ready to party all night. 

As I was breastfeeding I would leave Lee snoring away when Bug woke in the night and we would have the house to ourselves to snuggle together and breastfeed, snoozing together after feeds.  I cherished that time alone with him, with him cradled in my arms feeding at my breast.  Even now on the rare occasions he snuggles in my arms and falls asleep is so precious to me.

“Having my baby fall asleep in my arms takes away all of my worries and stresses.  A sense of complete and total peace comes over me”
Maria Jose Ovalle.

Surprising I found I instinctively, naturally managed on very little sleep…..perhaps mothers are in tuned to care for their young regardless of how much sleep they have had.  To help survive the time I would nap when Bug did even if it was only a brief snooze and did not worry about the housework, concentrating on looking after Bug and myself.

That time flew past and even though Bug does not sleep as long as other toddlers I know of his age….he just does not seem to want/need any more than he has, he does sleep through unless he is ill.  Now that I have my nights back I can one again get some much needed beauty sleep.

Thankfully for the most part I get a decent amount of sleep and not have too many difficulties sleeping.  At time when things are worrying me or I am feeling a little down emotionally or mentally I do find it hard to relax and fall asleep.  I find on the nights where I let my mind fill with worries before bed and not relax before sleep that when I do get some sleep I wake in the morning and do not feel rested, feeling like I had spent the night tossing and turning, worrying in my sleep and not had peaceful dreams. 

Using techniques I tried when I suffered with depression and insomnia I try to keep my bedroom clutter free and I try to read a little before sleep to take my mind off of my worries, allowing my thoughts to concentrate on the book instead in an attempt to relax my mind. 

One thing I have found that blows my worries away is watching Bug sleep, seeing my beautiful boy sleeping peaceful knowing I created him is one of the best feelings in the world.

I watched a little face sleeping,
Eyelashes fluttering so,
I wondered of the dream you were having,
and if Angels were playing there.

I watched a little face sleeping,
Your little mouth was smiling so,
I hope that you are as happy as me,
holding you in my arms.

I watched a little face sleeping,
making sure of the breath you take,
to watch you breathe and keep you safe,
is all that matters to me.

I watched a little face sleeping,
holding your small hand in mine,
five little fingers on each hand,
as one hangs onto mine.

I watched a little face sleeping,
and as I prayed to myself,
I thank God for letting me
watch a little face sleeping.

© Wanda L. Gossett

As I have had sleeping issues in the past, with slight issues getting in a relaxed mood to allow sleep to come easily even now I was very interested to learn from a sleep survey carried out by Silent Night that a large number of people suffer from sleeping issues and are not getting enough sleep.

Silent Night found some interesting and shocking facts about the nation and their sleep (or lack of sleep for many) and how a shortage of sleep affects us.

“According to our recent research, the UK is turning into a nation of zombies, as almost 35 million admit to feeling 'shattered' with zero lust for life.
Our Silentnight Sleep Study found that despite being fully aware of how important a good night's sleep is, a massive three quarters (75 per cent) are not getting your recommended eight hours - and this is impacting on your work, health and relationships.
31% say tiredness impacts on our ability to concentrate
25% say reaction times are slowed
17% say the quality of work suffers and we make careless mistakes
35% get a headache from tiredness
35% admit tiredness makes us forgetful
33% admit tiredness makes us anxious
31% said tiredness can leave us feeling depressed
50% admit to losing patience with family”
Information taken from the Silent Night Sleep Study.

Delving deeper into the nation’s sleep issues Silent Night uncovered the reasons behind disturbed sleep –

"SOB: 'Side Of Bed' syndrome leaves two thirds struggling to sleep.
According to our Silentnight Sleep Study, 47 million Brits are so psychologically attached to their side of the bed, that they're unable to sleep just centimetres away. Two thirds said they were unable, or struggled considerably, to sleep on the 'wrong' side of the bed.
One in four quizzed admitted they have to follow a strict bedtime routine before they can get to sleep; this was higher with women with one in three having a set routine to follow before hitting the hay.
Nearly half (45 per cent) will obsessively double check that the house is locked up and a quarter will double check that all the appliances are off. One in six also takes the time out to prepare their clothes ready for the next day.
41 per cent of people struggle to find restful sleep because they're too hot, while a quarter (24 per cent) are kept awake by street noise and one in ten (9 per cent) will be kept awake by their uncomfortable mattress.
Top of the list for helping us to nod off is reading with 40 per cent of the nation turning to a book to help send them on their way, and a quarter will watch TV until they finally drift off.

Work Worry Weariness.
One in four lie awake at night worrying about work, with 25-34 year olds being the biggest work worriers, with one in three (35 per cent) blaming work worries for their lack of sleep.
One in nine (13 per cent) wakes up in a panic throughout the night worrying they'll miss their early work alarm while one in ten (11 per cent) will check work emails before finally switching off for the night.

Tweet Dreams.
Surprisingly only one in ten still try to count sheep as a means of getting to sleep meanwhile nearly one in four (23 per cent) turn to technology, hitting social networks for any late interaction and gossip, surfing the net and playing on apps shunting sheep for tweets."
Information from the Silent Night Sleep Study.

According to Silent Night’s ongoing consumer sleep trials they have found that often a new bed makes for a better night’s sleep…….if only I could afford a new mattress to help me sleep better and get some beauty sleep.  I actually think that there is some truth to this as I know I always sleep better when I had fresh, clean bedding and the image of a comfy new mattress brings thoughts of a refreshing night’s sleep.  Also I can imagine that there are many people like me who have a mattress that is old and in need of a rest itself, with the mattress not being the comfiest to sleep on anymore and causing back pain.

Following the researched gathered by Silent Night last year on people’s sleep they are now researching to see if sleeping aids can help improve sleep.  They are gathering information from sleep trials to see whether sleeping aids such as hot water bottles, room sprays, relaxing teas, sleep aid apps, eyes masks, ear plus and aromatherapy skin products help people sleep better.

As I am always on a quest for a good night’s sleep I was more than a little eager to get involved with Silent Night’s sleep survey to see if sleep accessories improve sleep.  After completing a questionnaire about my sleeping habits, which included questions about how many hours sleep on average I get a night, my sleep routine, my sleep environment and any sleep issues, I was sent a sleeping aid to test to see if it would help improve my sleep.

Based on my answers to the sleep survey I was sent a Neal’s Yard Remedies Calming Aromatherapy Room Spray to test over a period of 7 days to see whether it would have an effect on my sleep.  The Calming Aromatherapy Room Spray is made using natural and organic essential oil, it is alcohol free and the calming natural aroma is free from synthetic fragrances.  The room spray is a blend soothing rose and geranium essential oils plus patchouli leaf oil.  The calming spray is intended as a room spray rather than a pillow spray and it is not recommended to spray directly onto fabrics or surfaces.

As I love essential oils I was delighted at being sent the Calming Aromatherapy Room Spray and I love the gorgeous blue spray bottle and I admired the beautifully packaging of the spray.  The day that the spray arrived in post I was excited and looking forward to bedtime to get to test it out and see if it would create a calming atmosphere as its name suggests.

Spritzing the spray in the air in my bedroom that first night I was delighted at how pleasant and beautifully aromatic the spray smelt.  The spray is not overpowering, instead it is a delicate aroma of rose and geranium.  As I lay in bed that night after spraying the calming aromatherapy blend in the air the pleasant aroma created a calming, refreshing ambience.  As I read my book in bed the air was filled with the gorgeous scent of rose and geranium and I soon drifted off to sleep.  The following morning I woke feeling refreshed having had a good night’s sleep, even though I think the reason for this was more to do with the fact that Bug did not wake in the night or wake up at the crack of dawn for a change, I do think the spray helped calm me and in the relaxing atmosphere of the room I did not dwell on worries.

Since the first night I have used the Calming Aromatherapy Room Spray every night over a week and have continued to use it after that.  I cannot confess to having a great night’s sleep all week, especially as Bug was unwell and waking up during the night towards the end of my sleep trial, but I can say that I have felt more relaxed before sleep.  Even though I do not think it is the key to solving issues around sleep I do think it has helped me relax before sleep and helped achieve a more rested sleep.  With my tendencies to worry and overthink things before sleep causing sleep issues which in turn causes tiredness that drags me down and makes me concentrate more on the worries I end up in a cycle of poor sleep and teetering on the edge of depression, I am overjoyed to have found a way to relax before sleep rather than worry.

The divine smell of the spray seems to be the perfect solution for creating a soothing atmosphere that helps me unwind and relax and instead of worrying my mind is in a peaceful state so that I fall asleep calm and get some beauty sleep.  

*  I was sent the Neal's Yard Remedies Calming Aromatherapy Room Spray from Silent Night for free for the purposes of the sleep aid sleep trial *

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