Do Early Mornings Really Make a Difference...?

I've never really had a sleep pattern before, I usually would sleep in till whenever I wanted or got up super early to get a flight, if I even got to bed at all!
Now I'm just a bit (ahem) older, I don't have the resource of energy to see me through and felt like I was in a state of perma-drained for the past few years, zombie-ing through life waiting to get back into bed again.
A change in diet helped somewhat, cutting out dairy made me feel a little more awake but never fully, giving slight bursts of energy that ended in me a fed up slump afterwards.
I decided enough was enough, and kicked myself to make a change for the better, this however meant setting my alarms earlier each day and going to bed early even if it meant lying awake as the hours went by. Eventually it began to settle, I'd be able to get to sleep a little quicker and woke up feeling a bit less drained and aching for sleep every morning, instead hopping into the shower and starting my day at 7/8am every morning, even tho I usually don't start work until 12/1pm.
This meant my mornings were nicely spaced out, plenty of time to eat a large breakfast while checking out the latest posts, have a long shower and blow-drying my hair without rushing, even doing the dishes and cleaning up the flat leaving me with a lovely clean space to come home to after a shift at work.
It also meant that I was fully awake by the time I left the house, rather than yawning on the bus, I felt more accomplished with what I had done already that day.
Best thing was however, I felt much happier, much more confident and secure in myself.

It is hard to change your routine so drastically, especially if you had no routine to speak of beforehand, so here are my handy tips and tricks for getting yourself in a routine of better sleep and better mental health.

First things first, get yourself to bed earlier even if only by half an hour each day working it towards the best time for you to hit the hey.
I get myself to bed between 11-11.30pm every night to ensure I get at least 7 1/2 to 8 hours sleep every night.
I set my alarm for 7am and 7.30am every morning, making myself get up if I feel awake enough or giving myself an extra half hour as a treat even if it just means an extra half an hour of cuddling time,  but try not to switch off your alarm and just go back to sleep as it'll be harder to get to sleep earlier that night, breaking the pattern and leaving you feeling worse.
Pop on some Fair Trade Foot Lotion from Lush, this peppermint filled lotion will leave your feet tingling and cooling, refreshing and comforting you from the feet up.
It's also great if you are on your feet all day for soothing any aches and pains, plus it'll leave your feet smelling sweet and feeling soft as a super amazing bonus.
Pop a little on before you get into bed, and pop on some fresh cotton socks too to let it soak in overnight, but also to keep your bedding free of any bright pink lotion streaks!

I love to light a candle before bed, especially if it smells amazing too, candle light and lamp light leaves the room dark enough to get your mind ready for rest, but leaves it light enough to enjoy a little bit of reading before sleeping.
It's best to not look at screens before you sleep, as they overstimulate the brain and makes drifting off that much harder, but it's especially the colour blue that keeps you awake hence the addictive designs of Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter!
When we moved in our room was painted blue, but we promptly got rid of that with a more calming raspberry red colour and sleep has come easier ever since.
My last read was this Tina Fey autobiography, I prefer books with shorter stories in before bedtime as it makes it a little easier to put down since each chapter is different, this was perfect for that but I also love David Sedaris for some quick dry wit in short story form before slumber.
Any books that keep flowing may get me too addicted to put down and keep me staying awake for longer, so I recommend books like these to give you a little down time before sleep.

If you are lucky to live close to a Lush Spa, these are the stores which stock the Dream Time Temple Balms, a little life saver when it comes to bouts of restlessness and insomnia.
A very popular product jam packed with lavender, ginger, chamomile and jasmine that you pop onto the temples before sleep, making the body relax and sleep come easier.
It can be tricky to get as it does sell out quickly, but each tub does last quite a while as you only need a small amount of the oils that melt when you rub your fingers over the balm.
The lavender and chamomile is what helps to soothe you and send you to sleep, but the ginger is warming and helps to soothe aching tired muscles.
It's also full of Sandalwood, which is used in aromatherapy as an anti-depressant, so it can help you to wake up feeling chipper after a long restful nights sleep.
For only £4.95 a tub it's worth stocking up if you manage to find them in stores.

Ever got up in the middle of the night dying of thirst? 
I always keep a large bottle of Evian on my bedside table to take a gulp before bed, if I ever wake up thirsty in the middle of the night, and especially for a large gulp in the morning to help me start the day with a little hydration.
It's better for you to drink fresh water first thing to kick start your body, and has a lot more benefits to it than coffee or tea ever will.
I usually have a cup of tea about an hour or so after waking, but always a rooibos tea which is caffeine free and much better for the mind and body.

I started off by changing to this routine for one week, it got much easier over time and I felt better and better each day.
I did have one day however when I didn't, I went to bed at 1pm and had a bit of a lie in the next morning, and I felt like absolute hell. Instead of the chipper and productive person I had been all week long, I felt utterly miserable, lethargic and unable to find the energy to do anything that day, wasting away a whole day off.
Since that day I have pushed myself even more to keep to my routine, even on my days off or after a late night, I'll set an alarm for the morning and even if I don't jump out of bed if I'm not working, I'll catch up with life on my iPhone, cuddle my puppy, and still be up for the day by 9.30am.
If you decide to change your routine then take it at your own pace, work yourself into waking up half an hour earlier week by week till you get to your goal time, jump into the shower to fully wake up and keep yourself fresh, and feel great at accomplishing more every time you get an extra 30 minutes in which to do so!
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