I need sleep. I literally can’t function without it. The boyfriend, the parents, they’ve all had to deal with my diva needs when it comes to a solid eight hours rest. I can sort of live with seven hours, but anything below that and my brains stops working, I feel sick to my stomach and turn super pale; it’s like I’m allergic to being tired. So weird. Seriously though, a girl needs her beauty sleep, right?

Every apartment I’ve had to date has been furnished, so I was really excited to move into my new *empty* place in Toronto and select all kinds of wonderful furnishings to create a little oasis of my dreams. It turns out I’m super indecisive when it comes to interiors and have yet to really decide on anything except this mattress and bed. They were a no-brainer.

Over the years I have developed a nighttime ritual that ensures I have the best sleep ever, so that I can wake up ready to take over the world total Pinky & The Brain style. Follow along as I take you through my tips and tricks to have the best sleep ever.

YOUR BED IS THE FOUNDATION FOR YOUR SLEEP

When you’re as obsessed with sleeping as I am, beds are super important, so I was excited to have the opportunity to partner with Casper to try their mattress upon arrival in my new home.

The brand is basically everything that I’m about. They saved me from my indecisive ways with what they call “the perfect mattress, pillow and sheets for everyone”. Yup, no need to make any decisions. You just select the mattress size and colour of sheets and voila! No more thinking. Just sleeping. Additionally, they deliver it in a box to your door. The mattress is magically vacuum sealed, so it enlarges when you open it in a total Harry Potter manner. The fact that you can get your bed into your bedroom without actually leaving your bedroom is almost too good to be true.

I’ve been sleeping on the mattress for a month now and really love it. I’m not into hard surfaces, but I’m also not into those super soft memory foam mattresses that have no support either. The Casper mattress is provides a nice balance between the two and somehow removes all pressure points while still providing good foundation for your overall body alignment. I mean, I’m no expert, but I really think it’s a healthy way to sleep. Did I mention that their pillow and sheets kick ass too? There’s something so ideal about getting sheets that were made to fit your mattress perfectly.

I know I just raved about Casper for ages, but the brand just really pulls at my heart strings. They keep things simple. Their delivery is convenient. They’re beyond comfortable AND they have the most amazingly entertaining/quirky marketing —> check out their website and Instagram for a smile.

WIND DOWN FROM THE DAY WITH A CUP OF HERBAL TEA

I don’t know about you guys, but my mind is generally racing after another day of following my dreams. I love what I do and I’m so excited to be doing it that I often struggle to quiet my mind in the evenings. I have found that sitting back and enjoying a warm cup of herbal tea helps me transition from work to bedtime mode. Make sure there’s no caffeine in it, but I’m sure you all know that.

CLEAR YOUR MIND BY WRITING DOWN THOUGHTS AND IDEAS

We all have so much going on in our lives resulting in an endless stream of thoughts, ideas and things to remember. Over the past few years I have developed a habit of writing down all the things that pop into my head. Whether it’s something to do now, a goal for the distant future or even something to tell someone. I then take these lists and arrange them according to relevance and time. If I’m on the go, I put them in the notes on my phone and transfer them to paper later. It’s amazing the reduction in stress and relief that arises by getting things out of your head and organized in a way that you won’t miss anything important. This allows me to function more effectively too.

Before bed I make sure to write down any last thoughts that are on my mind. This ensures that I won’t have any distractions to keep me from falling asleep. I also leave a notebook by my bed for those moments when I wake up having remembered something important. I simply sit up, write it down and then go back to sleep.

DEVELOPING THE HABIT OF MINDFULNESS PRACTICE

In keeping with the theme of quieting the mind, once I’ve written down everything that’s in my head, I usually do a round of Headspace. I’ve been using the app for about 4 years now and it has virtually changed my life. The app is essentially a database of guided mindfulness mediations of various lengths and techniques. Aside for my relationship with friends and family, this silly little phone application might be one of the most important things in my life. As someone with a history of mental health problems, Headspace has been more effective is helping me understand my mind than any other alternative practices. I have always wanted to write a full blog post about it, but I really can’t find the words for how it has effected me.

Each person’s mindfulness journey is highly individual and also very ongoing. When you begin Headspace, they give you access to ten days of sitting for ten minutes and from there you gradually build time, add techniques and develop the strength to apply meditative practices to other parts of your life.  It is a beautiful and ongoing process (I am still very much an amateur) that changes the relationship you have with your thoughts and emotions to help you experience more calm in your life.

I recommend it to everyone. Starting with just ten minutes a day, why not give it a try?

KEEP YOUR SLEEPING SPACE FREE OF TECHNOLOGY

Aside from using my phone for Headspace, I try to keep gadgets and techie things out of the bedroom. The blue light emitted from screens (except the new IOS update has an option to remove it) actually stimulates your mind thus keeping you awake longer. Plus, the sounds of the TV or your phone buzzing won’t help either.

I love to read in bed. I find that zoning into a good novel helps me forget whatever went on that day and allows me to get ready to sleep. I generally read for about 20-30 minutes just before heading to bed. If i’m feeling irresponsible I’ll watch Netflix on the laptop, but then I end up with less that seven hours sleep making the next day is a nightmare. Typical.

WE ALL SLEEP BETTER IN THE DARK

Finally, my mind is quiet and I’m relaxed and ready to sleep. I find that darkness is important when it comes to sleeping well, so I would suggest good blinds or sleep mask to ensure quality of sleep. I live in my ÉLISE silk eye mask.

There you have it my friends. I little peek at my bedtime rituals. What do you do to ensure you get a good night’s sleep? Let me know in the comments!

Photography by Laura Clarke.

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