Discover more from Well Well Well with Rosamund Dean
Are you getting enough?
Sign up to receive Well Well Well in your inbox every Tuesday. It might just change your life
How are you feeling? Knackered? Shattered? Weary?
Everyone I speak to at the moment seems to be grappling with the kind of bone-deep tiredness that makes getting up in the morning feel like a monumental effort.
Colleagues talk of longing for a weekend in bed. School gate chat is about limping towards the Easter break. WhatsApp groups are quieter than usual, as if people can’t quite find the energy to articulate a joke in their minds and transfer it to their fingers.
The clocks springing forward hasn’t helped. I mean, the lighter evenings are obviously lovely, but we’ve lost an hour when we didn’t have one to spare.
The importance of sleep has been understated for years. It used to be a badge of honour to barely need any sleep, but now we’re realising it’s as vital for overall health and wellbeing as what you eat and how you move your body.
If you’re suffering with brain fog or low mood, you need more sleep.
If you’re constantly getting ill or feeling run-down, you need more sleep. Your immune system relies on it, because sleep is when your body repairs and recovers.
And not to be superficial but, if you’re not sleeping, the chances are you’re not looking your best (unless you’re 25-year-old Kate Moss, in which case, normal rules do not apply).
But plenty of things interfere with good quality sleep, from internal factors like stress, anxiety and menopause, to external ones like small children and blue light-emitting devices (the chances are you’re looking at one right now).
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been buying into every shiny new product promising to improve your sleep. From popping magnesium, ashwagandha or CBD in an effort to calm my system, to monitoring my sleep stages using apps and trackers. I do sometimes feel part-robot when I wake up and immediately roll over to check my Oura sleep stats before I do anything else.
I recently learned about Sleepwave, a motion-sensing sleep tracking and smart alarm app. The idea is that you are not startled out of a deep slumber at a preordained time.
‘Instead of sounding at a fixed time, you set a 15 minute wake-up window such as 7am - 7:15,’ explains founder Jules Goldberg. ‘Sleepwave then detects your movements and alertness, and gently sounds the alarm when you’re primed to wake up well.’
The technology is so sensitive that it can detect breathing from a phone beside your bed. Which actually makes me feel a bit anxious about what the phone is emitting to get that information. Jules reassures me that Sleepwave simply uses the phone’s speaker to ‘vibrate the air’, and detects movements by listening for changes in the pattern of air vibration. ‘The phone’s speaker transmits less acoustic energy than a human whisper,’ he explains, ‘and it’s completely harmless.’
I’ll try it out, of course, because I’ll do anything for a better night’s sleep.
There’s now even a hotel in London’s Piccadilly that is built around exactly that. Brilliantly called Zedwell, it has soundproof rooms with low lighting and no electronics. It’s filled with the scent of lavender and rosemary, a specially curated playlist is designed to relax - and I have never wanted to be commissioned to review a hotel more (apart from maybe Lanserhof, and that dream came true).
Of course, the best advice to improve our sleep is the stuff we already know. Switch off all screens an hour before bed, limit caffeine after lunch, avoid alcohol completely and establish a regular routine where you go to sleep and wake up at around the same time every day.
If you’re a subscriber to this newsletter (which I guess you are if you’re reading this) then you probably know that good sleep starts from the moment you wake up. Getting outside in natural daylight as soon as you can in the morning regulates your melatonin and improves your sleep by the time it gets to the evening.
We know this, of course we do. And yet… here we are at midnight having just switched off the screen into which we’ve been staring for the past couple of hours, wondering why we can’t sleep.
The absolute irony of this particular newsletter is that I’m writing it late on a Monday evening and therefore, yes, I’m staring at a screen right before going to bed. I do this every week, even though I always fully intend to write Well Well Well on Fridays, when I’ve got more time. For some reason I can’t seem to make myself do it until the last minute - every single time. So I might have the sleep advice down but, if you have any procrastination tips, please do send them my way.
This week I’m…
Trying every tool at my disposal to improve my sleep
An eye mask helps with these longer days, and a silk one is best for the delicate skin around your eyes
These CBD sleep drops are higher-strength than most
I’m a fan of Wild Nutrition’s sleep supplements (use the code ROSAMUND10 for £10 off)
It ain’t cheap, but I still can’t recommend an Oura ring highly enough
This Works pillow spray is a classic for a reason