As well as being available in the UK, the rights have so far sold to France, the Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Slovenia and the United States.
The Emerald Street team (home of Stylist) said: “…this is the life hack bible you’ve been searching for – we’ve tried it and it blinking well works. Kim Jones has packed this book with practical tips (relax your tongue and hold your thumb), psychological insights and common sense. It might just change your night life forever.”
Packed full of science-backed, practical sleep tips, I hope you’ll find it’s an easy to understand, informative – and of course, helpful – book.
I was inspired to write it after a feature I wrote on Sleep Tricks, published in The Daily Mirror back in 2013, kept appearing on the ‘Most Read’ pages in the lifestyle section of the paper online – for years! Readers seemed to love the tips in the article and I thought there was a market out there for a book that examined all sorts of techniques and practices that have been proven to help people suffering from insomnia or the odd sleepless night.
I trawled through hundreds of sleep research papers and used the years of knowledge I’ve gleaned from interviewing various sleep experts, researchers, physicians and more to dig into what really works – and I’ve endeavoured to explain often complex ideas in an easy-to-read accessible format.
As a result, I hope this book will help you sleep and be a trusty bedside companion for you should insomnia – or the odd sleepless night – strike.
I’m a health and lifestyle journalist with over 25 years experience of writing for national newspapers and women’s magazines. You can browse through some of my work – for publications including The Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Sunday Express Magazine, Tesco magazine, Woman and Home, Woman, Woman’s Weekly and more – in the sections in the menu on the home page (Health & Wellbeing Articles; Diet & Fitness Articles; Lifestyle Articles & Interviews).
It helps maintain a healthy amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the body; GABA is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with anxiety and stress. One studyfound that upping magnesium intake led to falling asleep faster, with better sleep throughout the night. Magnesium is also thought to help with the symptoms of restless-leg syndrome.
Good sources of magnesium are dark leafy greens, seeds and nuts such fish, and wholegrains such as wholewheat bread and brown rice.
If you think you need a magnesium top-up, then look for good quality supplements.
Dreamy scents of lavender and oatmeal makes this a soothing night-time treat.
If you’re applying body lotion at night, it makes sense to use something with a scent that’s going to calm and relax you – rather than invigorate and enliven.
That’s why I can almost guarantee you’ll fall in love with (and fall asleep to) Lush Sleepy Body Lotion.
A pretty purple colour, and perfect for massaging in and wearing under your lightest of lightweight pyjamas, this body lotion feels soft and cooling as you apply – perfect for summer nights when you want only a whisper of a lotion to moisturise your limbs after a lukewarm shower.
The scent is soft and powdery; notes of lavender (known to be a soporific scent) are softened by caramel-like tonka and calming oatmilk. Close your eyes and inhale – and you’ll soon be nodding off.
It costs £9 for a 95g pot and £16 for a 215g pot available here: uk.lush.com
My recent features in the Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers (above) looked at back pain and some tricks to help fix it.
As anyone with an achy back will know, the pain can keep you awake at night.
My book 222 Ways to Trick Yourself to Sleep has plenty of tips to help you get a peaceful night’s slumber, including some exercises and things to do that can help ease a stiff and aching spine.
In the meantime, here are some tips you can try:
CHECK YOUR MATTRESS
An Oklahoma State University study took a group of healthy volunteers who were sleeping on mattresses that were on average nine and a half years old and who were experiencing back pain and disturbed sleep. The study leaders kitted them out with new medium-firm mattresses for 28 days, and guess what? The volunteers reported better sleep and less painful backs.
LOG-ROLL OUT OF BED
Your back muscles are prone to injury first thing in the morning as they may have stiffened up through the night. So, start every day safely by stretching and warming them up before rising. Lying on your back, first bring one knee upwards toward your chest, then the other. Next, hold your lower legs and bring both knees towards your chest, hugging them there for 10 seconds. Then, rather than using your back muscles to lever yourself up into a sitting position to get out of bed, try log-rolling instead: from lying on your back, roll onto the side you get out of bed, bring your knees upwards so they’re partly off the edge of the bed, then drop your legs to the floor as you use your top hand to push downwards on the bed to help yourself upright to a sitting position.
DON’T JUST SIT THERE
Sitting puts more pressure on our spine and discs than standing, says Tim Allardyce, physiotherapist at www.surreyphysio.co.uk, and as some of us spend 10 hours a day on our bottoms (at work, on the sofa, in the car) that’s bad news for our backs. “Our spines love movement, so get up and move around every 20-30 minutes if you can,” he says. “To improve mobility in your back, do some stretches: standing up, run your hand down the outside of your leg to create a side-bend to the spine. Repeat the other side, several times each side.”
STRETCH IN YOUR SEAT
60-seconds of rotation stretches will help mobilise your spine when you’ve been sitting a while, whether at home or work. “Sitting upright with good posture, twist around to one side to touch the back of your chair, then repeat the opposite side,” says Tim. Repeat several times each side.
Healthy spinal discs (which act to cushion the vertebrae) contain plenty of water. Through the day, gravity squeezes water out of the discs, which could lead to back pain. So be sure to regularly replenish them by taking one-minute water breaks every hour. Buy a bottle and mark it every 200 milliletres, labelling each line with the hour of the day. Aim for at least 2 litres daily.
This Pilates move relieves tension in the back, increases mobility in the spine and can help improve posture by stretching out the vertebrae – and it’s a perfect move at the end of every day. “In my classes, this is a favourite instant back pain reliever,” says Sarah Vrancken, founder of www.kalmpilates.com. “Stand so that your ankles, hips and shoulders are in line. Whilst breathing out, nod your head towards your chest and then, vertebrae by vertebrae, slowly roll down your spine without pushing your hips back. Just imagine that from the hips down, your body is made out of stone; it cannot move (the movement needs to come from the spine). When you’re as far down as you can comfortably go, breathe out, then roll upwards, vertebrae by vertebrae, stacking each one on top of each other, as if you’re building a tower on top of your tailbone. Repeat four times.”
My new book 222 Ways to Trick Yourself to Sleep explains how aromatherapy can benefit you at bedtime, to soothe you into sleep – and for products that help, head to the experts at Tisserand Aromatherapy.
They know all there is to know about essential oils and their powers to put you at your ease, sourcing and selling the best 100% natural pure essential oils, creating beautifully scented and blended body washes, bath soaks and more, designed to wow you into wellbeing, transporting you into a state of calm, focus, happiness or even energy.
Their superb ‘Sleep Better’ collection incorporates a mix of Jasmine, Sandalwood and Lavender essential oils, helping you to soak, spritz, massage (or roller-ball!) your way into switching off and drifting off to sleep with ease.
For the bath, there’s a slumber-scented Bath & shower Wash (£11.95), Bath Oil (£9.45) or Bath Salts (£13.95) , which also contain Magnesium to help relax muscles.
The keep-by-the-bed Massage & Body Oil is superb when used to massage into hard-working hands before lights-out. It leaves no residue after a minute or two of gentle kneading and the rich yet gentle scent aids in the relaxation process.
Also in the collection is a sweetly-scented Pillow Mist and ‘The Little Box of Sleep’ – a pretty package of three pulse-point roller balls (each designed to help you either calm a busy brain, relax your body, or make you feel dreamy) makes an ideal gift for anyone who has trouble nodding off.
I’m all for sleep rituals…small, relaxing things you can do at night-time to remind your body and mind it’s time to wind-down and prepare for a perfect night of peaceful shut-eye. (See my new book 222 Ways to Trick Yourself to Sleep for a whole chapter of ‘Before Bed Wind-Down Tricks that really work).
And using a night-cream that’s calming and soothing can be a perfect part of anyone’s sleep ritual. Used nightly, the scent of the cream will help you associate it with tranquility.
Temple Spa’s Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream is the perfect pre-sleep concoction. Packed with plenty of skin-friendly vitamins plus complexion boosters hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil and glycerin, what makes it a superior sleep-aid is the fact it’s also infused with essential oils of lavender and frankincense plus soothing hops.
It’s light, melty, easily absorbed and smells of ‘lying in a spa’. Breathe in the scent from your hands after applying to fill yourself with a sense of ‘ahhhh’.
Perfuming your pillow with a sleep-inducing spray to sink into is a lovely way to introduce essential oils into your night-time routine. But you need to make sure the spray you use is gentle and won’t irritate your skin (because if you’re anything like me, you like to bury your face into your pillow rather than lie-back tidily to drift off).
Step in Bramley’s Sleep Spray. Inspired by the British countryside, Bramley beauty products contain natural botanicals and fair-traded essential oils, so you can feel good about spritzing and spraying them at your pleasure.
This heavenly-scented spray contains a calming blend of essential oils of sleep-inducing yarrow, lavender and chamomile – and it’s gentle enough to spray onto your face as well as your pillow. So I’ve been doing both and I can report softer skin as well as better sleep. Beautiful sleep in a bottle.
One of the tips in my new book 222 Ways to Trick Yourself to Sleep explains why a warm bath can help you sleep (yes, of course it’s relaxing but it’s actually the drop in core body temperature you experience when you get out of the tub which sends a chemical ‘feel sleepy’ message to your brain).
But of course, what you put in your bath can help start the process of sleepiness. Think soothing, relaxing soporific essential oils.
Meet the amazing Olverum Bath Oil – a formula that’s been largely unchanged for over 80 years and loved by its cult following.
First, the scent hits you (and everyone else at home as it escapes the confines of your steamy bathroom and pervades the landing, the hallway, the rest of the house). Expect calls of ‘what’s that amazing smell?’ from anyone within sniffing distance.
A mix of ten essential oils (including eucalyptus, lemon peel, lime and Exotic Verbena), the perfume clears your mind, soothes your senses and cocoons you in comfort.
A little goes a long way (just half a capful is enough) and the oil is light to smooth your skin, not so heavy to make it slippery.
It’s bathtime bliss – and you can prolong the pampering by applying its sister product Olverum ‘The Body Oil’ when you emerge from the spa-like serenity of your tub.
Breathe in the calm – and then enjoy blissful shut-eye.
Olverum Bath Oil is £32 for 125ml (enough for 25 baths) and The Body Oil (100ml) is £40 Olverum.com
But here’s one evening exercise class that could actually help you wind down naturally.
FirstLight Cycle is an indoor cycling class in Westfield London which harnesses the power of sunlight simulation technology to either revive and awaken you – or to help you feel more relaxed and naturally sleepy.
The full body cycle workouts are set in darkened rooms, with bikes facing a gigantic state-of-the-art 30ft widescreen which transmits pictures and scenery plus sunlight simulation – where you can ride through dawn light to awaken and invigorate yourself, through midday light to boost alertness and focus, or through slowly fading evening light that helps your body produce the sleep-enhancing hormone, melatonin.
So, if you only get the chance to exercise in the evening after work, this might just be the bright idea you’ve been waiting for.
My book 222 Ways to Trick Yourself to Sleep explains how important the mineral magnesium is to help promote relaxation – and that studies have linked upping your intake to falling asleep faster and getting better sleep through the night, too.
What’s more, magnesium is also though to help alleviate the maddening (tell me about it!) symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome, a condition that kicks in just as you’re starting to relax and means it’s difficult to sit or lie still (and certainly to get to sleep).
The good news is that magnesium is well-absorbed through the skin – so step in these two dreamy creams from luxury brand Neom Organics, which both contain the mineral magnesium, mixed with fragrant, relaxing essential oils such as lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood.
I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks and not only do they smell divine, but I’ve been getting less bouts of restless legs come bedtime.
Perfect Night’s Sleep Body Butter and Real Luxury Body Butter are both £36 from neomorganics.com
I love the fact that even the mainstream cosmetics industry is now producing products perfectly placed (and nicely priced) to incorporate into a calming regime before bedtime.
Step in the new Sanctuary Spa SLEEP collection which includes a Drift-Off Bath Soak, £12, Relaxing Night Body Butter, £11 and a Dream Easy Pillow Mist, £8 (available from Boots, Superdrug etc)
They’re all infused with a ‘sleep-enhancing fragrance’ ( hello lavender oil and midnight flowers….and good night).
Layer the scenting experience starting with a warm bubbly bath, followed by a leisurely body butter massage and finish with a spritz of sleepiness on your pillow. You’ll soon come to associate the dreamy scents with good sleep.
My book 222 Ways to Trick Yourself to Sleep has plenty of tips and ideas on all sorts of things you can incorporate into a wind-down routine. Including that warm bath. And why 9pm is the perfect time to immerse yourself.