This post is kindly sponsored by Brush With Bamboo – as always I only work with brands I truly love and think you will too and all opinions are my own. Affiliate links marked with * throughout.
Bedtime doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m an “owl”. My mind comes alive between the hours of 10pm and 2am so when I have any work to do then I’m likely to stay up and do a late one instead of trying to work slowly through the day. I’ve fought it for years, but after reading this reassuring article, sent to me by my husband, I’m finally understanding it’s simply my circadian rhythm that dictates my sleep patterns and there’s actually very little I can do about it.
My husband is a “lark”. Whilst he loves getting an early night and leaping out of bed the next morning, heading straight into the shower (makes me shudder at the thought!), I can’t do ANYTHING before I’ve had some time to “come around” and enjoy a spot of breakfast and a warming cup of coffee… in bed, of course.
The only thing is, I really value going to bed together and hate creeping in to a dark bedroom hours after my husband has drifted off to the land of nod. I love cuddles before lights out. In fact studies have shown the emotional benefits of cuddling with a partner and it’s thought to release oxytocin which helps to reduce blood pressure, promote healing and relax the body.
So, in an effort to get me to bed a little earlier than my circadian rhythm dictates and enjoy some much needed wind down and cuddle time, I’ve done my best to cobble together a kind of bedtime routine that makes hitting the sack feel a little less like a punishment and more like something to look forward to.
How many pyjamas does a girl really need? I recently had a clear out of my pjs which were mostly made up of old t-shirts and my husband’s old boxer shorts. I’ve since whittled my sleepwear down to one organic cotton summer set, one organic cotton nightshirt and a pair of thicker organic cotton pj bottoms which I can wear with an old jumper in the winter.
The organic cotton nightshirt by Eight Hour Studio is my current fave. It’s easy to move around in, comfortable to sleep in and looks pretty chic if you ask me (and my husband agrees!). I no longer feel any shame if my morning lie-in is interrupted by someone knocking at the door (usually my post-lady who doesn’t actually recognise me when I’m fully dressed out of the house).
So once we’ve eaten our evening meal, tidied up (I’m kinda messy throughout the day) and turned the TV off, it’s time for me to pop on my nightshirt if I haven’t done so already.
Next up, I go around our home and turn off almost all electronics, especially the wifi hub, lights and TV. I started doing this after Earth Hour a couple of years ago and it is a routine that has stuck. I realised how simple it is to do each night and whilst I initially had ideas of saving money and energy, I have since learned that wifi, mobile phone masts, mobile phones and in fact anything electrical, can cause insomnia and sleep disturbances amongst other side effects such as brain fog and headaches.
BRUSH WITH BAMBOO
Time to brush my teeth! For the past year or so I’ve been using a wooden toothbrush that uses boar bristles which means it is totally compostable and plastic-free. However, my husband isn’t such a fan of these and the bristles have a habit of coming loose pretty quickly which means I get through a lot more toothbrushes than before.
A few years ago, Lauren Singer from Trash Is For Tossers gave me a Brush With Bamboo toothbrush when we met up in New York and I loved it. Back then, I was struggling to find them in the UK, so I casually mentioned in a Personal Care Faves video that if anyone from Brush With Bamboo was watching, “could they please come to the UK!”. Last month they got in touch to say they were officially launching in the UK through a partnership with online eco store Booblaou and gave me a bunch of their toothbrushes to try. Man, I love these guys. Not only is their bamboo handle certified 100% organic (the only one on the market that is!), it’s made from wild grown bamboo (the kind not eaten by pandas) and they are also a joy to use!
Each Brush With Bamboo toothbrush comes packaged in a glueless cardboard box which can easily be recycled and the “plastic looking” film around the toothbrush is actually made from non-GMO wood cellulose that can be easily composted at home. I’ve tested this in my worm bin and it definitely biodegrades. According to Emma Priestland (plastic-free campaigner at Friends Of The Earth) “bamboo toothbrush handles can take around six months to compost, while a plastic one takes hundreds of years to fully break down.”
The bristles are still plastic, but they are made from 62% castor bean oil and 38% nylon. They are certified non-toxic and BPA free, so whilst they won’t currently biodegrade, they are the best alternative to pig hair on the market at this time. Personally I have no issues using pig hair but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea! I tend to save the toothbrushes before removing the bristles and composting or burning the handle (they make good kindling!) as we find them useful for cleaning shoes and difficult to reach areas around the house.
To clean my teeth, I simply sprinkle bicarbonate of soda (which I keep in a metal spice shaker) on to my toothbrush and get brushing. If you’re more of a toothpaste kinda person, then I’d recommend this one*.
Next up, I tongue scrape! Which is new for me and again my tongue scraper came courtesy of Brush With Bamboo. It’s an Ayurvedic self-care ritual that helps remove bacteria, food debris, toxins and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. It also takes less than a minute to do and feels surprisingly therapeutic.
It’s taken me to the ripe old age of 34 to finally start doing this and if I’m honest I don’t always remember. If I’ve been wearing makeup during the day and IF I remember before going to bed, then I’ll remove it with some olive oil and a warm, damp, reusable cloth. I simply massage the oil into my face and over my eyes and then work the cloth over my face. The makeup comes off pretty easily – no stingy eyes either!
Whilst almost everything in our flat gets switched off at night, I’ve found switching the dishwasher on before bed to be a really useful way of making sure we have clean bowls, plates and spoons ready for breakfast. I make a DIY dishwasher powder using this recipe and use white vinegar which is now available to me in bulk as the rinse aid. It works a treat!
Cool air is said to help you sleep better, but even without knowing this, my husband and I like a cooler bedroom. I do, however, love a hot water bottle to take the edge off when getting into a cool bed and I find it helps me drift off to sleep more quickly.
READ A BOOK
This is one of the main reasons I like to try and tuck myself in long before I feel tired – snuggling down with a good book is one of my favourite things to do. Currently, fiction isn’t doing it for me, but factual books are! A few of my favourite recent reads are: Defending Beef*, The Vegetarian Myth* and Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking*. I prefer real books to electronic ones which reminds me – my phone stays out of the bedroom, either off or on flight mode overnight. My husband and I no longer use alarms and try to go with our natural cycles as much as possible. This means I usually wake around 8:30am and he’s up at 7am.
LIGHTS OUT AT 10pm
Or maybe closer to 11pm for me 😉 One of our relatives kindly gave us a himalayan salt lamp *. Some people believe these salt lamps help improve sleep and clear the air but there is little evidence to back this up and honestly, I just like it for the soft warm glow it gives out which works great as a reading lamp if my husband decides to turn in before I’ve finished my chapter. I don’t do this all the time as it can stop him falling asleep but now and then, I like to keep it on just to read for an extra 10 minutes or so!