If you’ve ever wondered why you might not be getting the right amount of sleep, wake up feeling groggy, overtired, or as if your brain hasn’t had the time to shut off, experts say it could come down to the way you wind down after a busy day. And although we know that we live in a world where stress and anxiety reign supreme, spending a little longer than 5-10 minutes to unwind can do wonders for our health and wellbeing...
You see, recent research conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation, tells us that between 33 and 45 per cent of Australians either struggle to sleep well, or not enough which is why we thought we’d sit down with some working mums, to talk about important things they do for themselves that help them unwind before bed.
THEY KNOW WHEN TO SWITCH OFF
Rachael Finch, mum of two and Founder of Body By Finch tells us, “I make a conscious effort to switch off around 6 or 7pm. The evening is my time for winding down, setting myself up for a good night of rest and letting my mind calm. I usually eat dinner around 6pm, then Dom goes to bed at 7pm. Violet will stay up a little later until 8pm, then I will follow shortly after!”
Jacqueline Alwill, mum of one and nutritionist agrees: “I used to go back to work after Jet went to bed, but these days I switch off when he does at 830pm. A few reasons: 1) I love the bedtime snuggle with him and know it won’t necessarily be forever, so I really relish it and to be honest I’m so dopey after it there’s no chance I’m able to switch back on again; 2) if work goes back on I’m overstimulated to even attempt sleep at a reasonable hour and the rest of my sleep is poor quality because my brain spirals to overload; 3) I work better in the early hours of the morning, I can rise at 430am and do some work from 5am if that’s what is required because my body functions best at that time rather than late at night.”
She adds, “Once upon a time I tried to do both – go back to work after Jet went to bed AND get up early, whilst also juggling life as a single mum. It didn’t work out well, I ended up burnt out and with horrendous hormonal imbalances. You don’t really need to learn that lesson twice, learn it once, tweak your lifestyle, restore your health and move forward.”
THEY SCHEDULE TIME FOR THEMSELVES
“After a busy day, I love to go for a long run,” artist and mother of one Heidi Moore Gill tells us. “This definitely does not happen every day but when it does it works like a charm. Otherwise listening to a meditation app – I like Headspace and Calm helps me wind down.”
Rachael Finch adds: “If I don’t have the kids I love taking an Epsom salt bath or still going for a long walk. During this time I’m really focusing on practising ‘active meditation’ – not thinking about the future or dwelling on the past, however, being completely aware of my body and the environment.”
REMOVING MAKEUP IS AN ESSENTIAL
“I always double cleanse in the evening, first with an oil cleanser to melt away makeup, oil and sunscreen followed by an AHA cleanser to gently exfoliate, brighten and polish my skin,” mum of two and skin expert, Melanie Grant says. “Then I drench a cotton round in Bioderma Sensibio H20 to calm and rebalance my skin. For me, there is no better feeling at the end of the day that removing your makeup and taking the time to enjoy your nighttime skincare regime.”
“I’ve always loved a good facial oil too. Right now I’m using Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, which is full of beautiful plant derived EFA’s, antioxidants and vitamins. I massage a small amount into my face, neck and décolleté using upward sweeping motions. This oil has such an intoxicating natural perfume that draws me into the present and feels really indulgent at the end of a busy day.”
FACE MASKS PLAY A BIG ROLE
“I apply a face mask every evening before my bath. I usually prefer cream masks as they’re simple to apply and remove and I can easily customise the ones I reach for depending upon how my skin feels on the day. Sometimes I apply two or three different masks simultaneously to various areas of my face, neck and décolleté to address multiple concerns in one application – the perfect home treatment for a busy mum like myself,” Melanie Grant says.
THEY PRIORITISE THEIR FOOD CHOICES
“I’ll ensure I eat a really balanced meal in the evening, protein, healthy fats AND carbohydrates,” Jacqueline tells us. “Even just a small portion of complex carbohydrates (sweet potato, pumpkin, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, other wholegrains) features at my evening meal because including them ensures my body actually has the ENERGY to rest. Our bodies need energy to sleep just as they do to be active and awake.”
While Rachael says, “I stop eating and drinking at 6pm usually. My dinner usually consists of a well-balanced meal with all macronutrients including complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, essential fats like avocado or olives, good quality protein like lamb or chicken and lots of veg! When I eat a balanced meal I don’t get hungry closer to bedtime and I feel so much better in the morning. If I consume stimulating foods like chocolate or juice my sleep is disturbed.”
THEY CHOOSE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP THEM RELAX
“Before bed, while winding down for the night, I take Sun Potion Ashwagandha to nourish and support my adrenals along with 2 capsules of clean EFA’s by Nordic Naturals, a sachet of PROGURT probiotics for gut health. Depending on how active I’ve been throughout the week, I do also like to take magnesium powder to promote deeper sleep and calm my nervous system,” Melanie Grant tells us.
“I actually take a melatonin supplement as I’m prone to insomnia, it’s compounded by the chemist and does work very well. And any of Anthea’s Ovvio teas for relaxation are divine and made with integrity,” Heidi adds.
Images: Julie Adams