I’m not sure whether there is a month more loadbearing, more encumbered with change, stress and anticipation, than January. Combine this with cold weather, short daylight hours and a new year bank balance, and I for one have myself an ideal recipe for insomnia.
One night last week, while lying awake at 4am dutifully fretting my way through my worry list, my brain saw fit to spontaneously relive that time several years back when I took the hand of someone interviewing me for a job, only to realise (in horror) that he was merely reaching for the door to let me out. It wasn’t a handshake. I was just standing there, holding his hand. As though we were adolescent sweethearts. As though I needed assistance of some sort to leave the room. I did not get the job. Thankfully, I didn’t get an accusation of harassment either. However, that prickling, sinking, leaden feeling, both in the moment and the memory, is January embodied, and it is very hard to sleep through.
Let’s be clear. This is not a problem I’m suggesting you can buy your way out of. Below are some nice comforting things I’ve been dabbling in to prompt and aid decent sleep, but I’m not suggesting these are cures. Exercise, nutritious food, breathing, unburdening yourself to someone and throwing your phone into the nearest obliging river – all these are much higher on the list.
However, if you have the inclination and budget for some sleep aids, I’ve found a few which have been helpful and comforting.
Mela Weighted Blanket (£130 at oliverbonas.com) is touted as the best on the market. Just be aware that as it’s heavy, shipping costs from the UK may be higher. I’ve been using the 7.5kg blanket, and though I was sceptical, have found it immensely relaxing. According to Mela “Deep Pressure Therapy [DTP] is a term for when pressure is applied equally across the body… [which] has been shown to increase the release of dopamine and serotonin by around 30 per cent, and decrease the stress hormone cortisol by the same amount, promoting the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps sleep.”
If you like a natural sleep supplement, spritz Biocol Labs Something for Dreaming (€23 at biocollabs.com) under your tongue twice before bed. It’s a plant-based sleep aid that contains melatonin and has amassed a lot of fans online.
I’ve got back into evening baths in an attempt to steam away the night frights, and Lush Mr Loba Loba Bath Bomb (€5 at lush.com) is a cheering Valentine’s limited edition. With its sweet, soothing benzoin and tonka scent, it releases biodegradable hearts into the bath, which make me laugh (a challenge in January).
Follow your bath with a nice body cream or oil. Bamford b Silent Organic Night-Time Body Cream (€54 at Space NK from February 1st) combines lavender, chamomile and vetiver for a lovely wind-down ritual. It contains cocoa butter and rosehip oil for rich moisturisation as you sleep.
Product of the Week
Slip Silk Pillow Case (€119 at cultbeauty.co.uk)