The Ultimate Guide to a Good Nights Sleep

We all hope for a good night's sleep every night; whether that happens or not is another thing. We may listen to old wives' tales and try home remedies, or pop to our nearest department store to get our hands on the latest celebrity sleep aid fad, but what actually sends us off into a deep sleep? Do we need to splash the cash on a hot product that's new to the shelves, or will a warm bubble bath suffice?

Here at Barker and Stonehouse, we've teamed up with some wonderful bloggers to test some well-known sleep remedies to see which ones work. We've collated our findings and created this go-to sleep guide just for you, to help you find the best methods out there. Before you know it, you'll be lulled off to sleep like a baby.

MUST DO'S

If you're trying the pillow spray, remember it can be sprayed on your body, as well as your pillow, if you find this helpful.

The cherry juice is most effective if you drink a glass in the morning and another at night, around 2 hours before you go to bed.

If you don't have a CD player you can still enjoy some relaxation music on your MP3 player (and this is also useful if you share a bed with your partner who doesn't want music playing!)

If you don't have time for a long soak in the bath (or if you don't have a bath) a hot shower can also be effective as an alternative.

Give it time. Not everything will necessarily work straight away, so try every method for at least a week to give it the best chance of success.

A clean and tidy bedroom will help you to feel calmer, so a quick tidy up before bedtime will aid your relaxation.

Pillow Spray

Simple and effective, pillow spray releases gentle scents for a relaxing aromatherapy experience to help calm your nerves and unwind after a stressful day. Just a few spritzes of pillow spray can help you drift off to sleep with ease.

We tested out a variety of lavender pillow sprays, and just as we thought, they calmed our senses ready for an undisturbed night's sleep. But what is it about lavender that makes us feel sleepy? Studies have shown that the herb eases anxiety and reduces blood pressure and heart rate, helping your body to relax.

Sarah, from Sequin This, used a lavender pillow spray for a week:

I find the lavender pillow spray helps to create a relaxing environment and the scent is soothing after a stressful day. It definitely helped to reduce the amount of restless sleeps I experienced during the week.

And after using pillow spray as part of her bedtime routine, Erica, from Being Erica, fell in love with it:

Just a couple of sprays over my pillow before I went to sleep left me feeling relaxed and calm. It's a welcomed addition to my sleep routine, and one I am ever so grateful for!

It seems this remedy is certainly one of the most popular ones, with Georgina, from Georgina Does, looking back at her pillow spray experiment very fondly:

The smell is lovely just on its own, so it was great that it made me feel super relaxed too'.

So keep a bottle of lavender pillow spray on your bedside table to make sure that a restful sleep is never out of reach.

Hot Bath

We all know that taking a hot bath is supposed to be a generally relaxing experience, but it can also be a really great sleep aid. Research indicates this is because the warm bath water raises our body temperature and, when we get out, the process of rapid cooling sends us into deep relaxation.

We asked our bloggers to try having a hot bath a couple of hours before bedtime to see if they noticed any difference in their sleep patterns. They also added some rose oil and bath salts to add a little luxury to the experience and enhance relaxation even more.

Lisa from Mathilde Heart Manech swapped hot showers for warm baths and was pleasantly surprised:

I've noticed dramatic benefits. Having a hot bath helped my whole body relax before bed, but the main benefit was improvements with my backache, which consequently helped me sleep better.

And Ellie at Life of Ellie Grace found it the most effective of all:

The hot bath was definitely the most relaxing remedy I've tried. I used bath salts and rose oil and it really helped me relax before bed. The warmth of the bath was also really good for de-stressing and relaxing muscles. I slept so well.

So it seems like a hot bath before bedtime really does help us to drift off. Emma, from Glossy Boutique, took to this simple remedy and really felt the benefits:

I definitely slept better without interruption after having a hot bath late at night.

Perhaps the humble bath is worth a try for a good night's sleep, after all.

Relaxation Music

Many of us already like to turn to our music collections to help us chill out after a hard day, but it's also a widely suggested method for helping us drop off at night. Research has shown that listening to 45 minutes of relaxing music at bedtime can help with restful sleep, so we thought we'd let our bloggers put it to the test using a relaxing piano music CD.

Lori from Wild and Grizzly took to the music fairly quickly:

Once I'd focused on the soft wave sound and let the melody wash over me, it was very relaxing and I found I was able to fall asleep very quickly. I didn't even wake when the music stopped.

And Emma, from Miss Pond, was also pleasantly surprised:

Before I knew it I was drifting off to sleep listening to the CD. This has been the most successful remedy for getting me to sleep.

Allie from Rush and Teal was a big fan of the relaxation CD:

Living on a busy road, the music was perfect for calming my mind.

So next time you're struggling to drop off, try reaching for the headphones and you might also find yourself quickly drifting into a peaceful sleep.

Drinks

Most of you would probably agree that this is certainly the most unusual suggestion of the lot. Fruit juice can help you sleep? Surely not. But there have been studies that suggest that cherry juice does increase our levels of Melatonin (the hormone that helps regulate our sleep cycles), potentially lengthening our periods of sleep by over an hour.

Carrie, from Carrie Brighton, has been swapping out her usual evening cup of tea for cherry juice:

Drinking cherry juice before bed is not something I would have ever expected to help me sleep, but I really think it has helped me to sleep deeper.

And Emma from Miss Pond also noticed some interesting changes:

I drank cherry juice in the morning for a week (I didn't want to in the evening as I try not to drink too much before bed) and by the end of the week I found that it was easier to get to sleep.

So if you're a fan of fruit juice then it's certainly worth slipping a glass or two into your daily routine; you never know, it might just make a difference.