Feige sent me a link to this podcast along with a note that said: Listen to this, it’s good, we should try it out. The podcast in question was Trained, a Nike podcast. The topic: The Secret to Improving Your Metabolism, Reaction Time and Longevity. It turns out the secret is sleep.
According to Dr. Matthew Walker, Founder and Director of U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, sleep can enhance everything from our nutritional cravings, to our mood, anxiety levels and reaction time. But Dr Walker wasn’t just talking about the roll into bed, close your eyes kind of sleep. He’s talking the type of sleep that involves a schedule. A schedule which practically begins when you wake up.
According to his sleep schedule, one should stop drinking caffeine 14 hours before bed. Which we calculated to be roughly at 8am. Eat dinner 3-4 hours before bed. Abstain from any alcohol at night. Go to bed and wake up at the same time throughout the whole week (including weekends). Sleep in a cool room and start switching off lights well before you hit the pillow to send signals to your body that sleep is imminent.
Feige has humored me through both a beet juice experiment and a horrific celery juice challenge, so it was only fair that I humored her with the sleep experiment. It lasted a week and by lasted, I mean we held on for dear life and couldn’t wait for it to be over. We learnt that just about all tea aside from herbal, contains caffeine and that trying to be rigid with the times we stopped drinking caffeine, ate dinner and went to sleep was more anxiety inducing than beneficial.
Despite finding the scheduling too rigid to fit into our lives, there were good tips. Tips that you can take and apply to your life in a way that fits into it, rather than disrupts it. It also got us thinking about sleep routines. The things you do before bed that quiet your mind, relax your body and get you ready to have a proper and good night sleep.
Instead of giving you a sleep schedule with a timeline only Eleonor Oliphant would appreciate, we’re sharing a sleep routine. It’s filled with little steps and products that help you get into the sleep frame of mind and help you wake up looking and feeling rested.
Dr Walker suggests regularity – this means, going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day including the weekends. We’ve found that having a range (within an hour) is more practical than being rigid about an exact time. We also allow for life to happen, and occasions which mean earlier or later sleep and rise times.
He also suggested turning off or diming lights an hour before bed to help your body release melatonin and signal to it that it’s time to sleep. To do this, try a bedtime routine which involves a warm bath or shower and some reading instead of watching TV.
Products to make that routine more enjoyable and signal your body for sleep are;
SOiL Organic Essential Oil Blend for Sleep
Essential oils are used for amongst other things relaxation and sleep. SOiL is a family managed organic essential oil farming operation based in Zululand, Kwa Zulu Natal. Their oils are 100% certified organic. Their products are never tested on animals, contain no petrochemicals, parabens, synthetic fragrances or colorants, and are packaged in recyclable biodegradable glass.
The Sleep Essential oil from SOiL blends together Organic Lavender, Bergamot, Sweet Marjoram and Vetiver 100% pure essential oils for a calming sedative effect. As a pure essential oil you cannot use it directly on your skin. It can either be added to a bath, a diffuser, inhaler or blended with a carrier oil and massaged into your skin.
How I use it
I like adding a few drops to my bathwater. A warm bath (if you can) before bed is a wonderful way to relax and unwind away from screens. It also warms you up during cold winter months. It does have a strong scent, and while it lingers in the bath it doesn’t linger on your skin afterwards.
Get it here (R129)
Naturals Beauty Room & Linen Spray
Naturals Beauty is a local family run business that runs out of Cape Town. Their goal is to produce an affordable, quality natural skincare range. Part of that range is a collection of room and linen sprays, that makes use of essential oils. The Lavender and Geranium room spray contains both Lavender and geranium essential oils. The oils are known for their antidepressant and antiseptic properties. The combination is uplifting and helps alleviate anxiety, making it perfect to spritz your bed linens with on nights you’re feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.
How I use it
I’ve been enjoying spraying it over my bed linen, especially my pillows an hour or two before I go to bed. I’ve also been using it as a room freshener. It has a light and very pleasant smell.
Get it here (R65)
Naturals Beauty Essential Collection Night Cream
The Naturals Beauty night cream is a nourishing cream. Baobab extract gives it firming, even skin tone and anti-wrinkle action. Soybean Oil, Evening Primrose Oil and Avocado Oil moisturize. They also provide vitamins A, E, B and omega 3 and 6 to the skin to improve smoothness and elasticity. Antioxidants are provided by Rooibos extract and Vitamin E to keep skin healthy and younger looking.
How I use it
I’ve incorporated this night cream into my night face care routine, making it the final step. The cream has a light mouse like texture yet feels rich and nourishing. The smells reminds me of lemongrass even though that’s not listed in the ingredients. It is quite strong, but I don’t mind it at all, and it fades after a few minutes. It’s too soon to tell if it is firming my skin, but I’ve had no negative reactions and my skin feels super soft and hydrated.
Get it here (R150)
Your bedroom according to Dr Walker should be dark and cool. The ideal temperature is between 18C and 19C. He also believes in making your bedroom a place where only sleep happens. If you struggle to sleep, he suggests getting up, moving to another room, reading for a bit, and returning when you feel sleepy.
My personal preference is to read in bed. I find that reading a chapter or two before bed, helps me fall asleep faster and I like to be in bed, in the sleeping position when that wave of sleepiness happens, to take full advantage of it.
I do however agree with keeping a room cool and dark, so I’ve included products that do just that (plus help keep your face unwrinkled and hair sleek).
The Silk Lady Silk Pillowcases
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase helps both your hair and face as it allows you to move smoothly across the pillow without the pillow sucking up any moisture. A dream for restless sleepers. It reduces the loss of natural hair oils and moisture, prevents hair from frizzing and can help with hair loss and thinning. It also prevents your face from creasing, which can speed up the aging process. The Silk Lady is a South African company that manufactures silk pillowcases. Their pillowcases are made from 100% organic silk. It is sourced from the moth Bombyx Mori, which produces the finest and purest silk. Their silk is strictly free from harmful chemicals, artificial softeners, bleaches and dyes. Lastly, the pillowcases are naturally hypoallergenic and repel dust mites.
How I use it
On my pillow of course 😉. The thing that I love most about the Silk Lady Pillowcases is their feel. They don’t have that shiny slippery silk look and feel which can sometimes make you feel like it’s getting sweaty. Instead they’re soft and luxurious. I love that they come in a paper envelope instead of plastic. They’re incredibly well made and feel divine to sleep on.
Get it here (from R283)
Protect A Bed SNOW Waterproof Pillow Protector
If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night to switch your pillow over to the cool side, you’ll appreciate the Protect A Bed SNOW Waterproof Pillow Protector. Protect A Bed is a global brand with 36 years of experience and a worldwide leader in bedding protection. Their SNOW Waterproof Pillow Protector is part of their Therma Sleep Collection. The SNOW range is Cold-to-the-touch with Nordic Chill fibres for an instant cooling effect. Nordic chill is smoother than cotton and pulls heat away from the body almost 10 times faster than cotton would.
How I Use it
I’ve been using a pillow that I’ve put inside the SNOW waterproof pillow protector for a few weeks now. True to their claims, it does have a soft and silk feel. It is soft but does make your pillow more structured. If you have a very soft pillow, it’ll turn it into a firmer one. I found that the normal sized case fits a pillow, but some pillowcases are too tight around it. However, the Silk Lady Pillowcase is the perfect fit, and I’ve paired the two together. The pillow with the protector is definitely cooler than a pillow without it; but it’s a slight coolness, not a sleep on a block of ice cool. I have been sleeping quite comfortably with it.
Available exclusively to dial-a-bed (R349)
Protect A Bed Cool Waterproof Mattress Protector
The Protect A Bed Cool Waterproof Mattress Protector is also part of the Therma Cool range from Protect A Bed. Protect A bed is the world’s leading mattress protector and this range is designed for those whose sleep is interrupted by sweating, overheating and restlessness from being in an overly warm bed. It features Tencel sleep surfaces. Thermoregulating Tencel is softer than silk and cooler than linen. It is made from natural wood-based fibres giving it a soft, silky smooth, non-irritating surface, making it hypoallergenic and ideal for sensitive skins. It’s meant to keep you cool and dry all night long.
How I use it
It looks like a fitted sheet and goes onto your bed the same way. It goes on top of the mattress and a sheet goes on top of it. It’s important to note that this range only comes in Queen and King sizes. Despite it having a waterproof layer, it doesn’t squeak or move. It feels different to sleeping on just sheet, but not in an uncomfortable way. In terms of keeping you cool, it’s hard to say. It does feel cooler than the bed feels without it, but it is a marginal difference. It’s cooler, but by no means feels like you’re sleeping in a fridge. It did result in a good night’s sleep and I look forward to seeing how it holds up in the hotter months. Aside from keeping the bed cooler, I like that it protects against allergens and dust mites. It also provides pet protection, making it great for those who have pets that sleep in their beds.
Available exclusively to dial-a-bed
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What’s your sleep secrets? Share in the comments.
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Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.