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Can you Change your Sleep Habits?

Almost nine years ago I stepped into the GP’s consulting room to ask for sleeping tablets. It wasn’t a decision taken lightly. In fact, it had taken me weeks to work up the courage to even make the appointment, and up until the words left my mouth I wasn’t sure I would even go through with it. I found seeking help so very difficult. I felt like such a failure for even being there, feeling dreadful rather than at home enjoying my new baby and his sister. But the truth was that I was in a state, and I needed help. Reaching out was so hard to do, but I had no other option. I needed to sleep. I was tired- SO tired- of spending all night being either forcefully woken with the demands of a new baby I had yet to bond with, or lying and wrestling with my own relentless brain. Was it worth going to sleep? Would I get enough sleep if I closed my eyes now, or should I lie awake until the baby wakes again? Should I just stay a little longer outside his room making sure he’s breathing at least, or should I do something to quieten my obsessive fears? Sleep had become everything. My son’s birth left a huge Can You Change your Sleep Habits? _Ghostwitermummy.co.ukhole in my life that is only now starting to fill with good things once more… back then, the gaping vastness of black was swallowing me whole and all I wanted to do was sleep.

Over the years since the day I attempted to seek help, I’ve come to realise that lack of sleep is a huge trigger for me when it comes to anxiety, stress and low mood. I know I need to keep a handle on it, watch how many late nights I get (or how many early mornings, for that matter!) and take action before my mental health deteriorates. I know only too well how quickly sleep deprivation can envelop me, change my way of thinking. How it can take over my rational thoughts, my physical wellness and my ability to handle the slightest amount of stress. The importance of sleep really cannot be understated, but can you really change your sleep habits?

The thing is, although I know how important it is to get good quality sleep, there are often many things beyond my control that hinder it. Children, for one. Vitamin deficiencies for another. The right mattress and pillow combination. The whole package needs to work right for the sleep to be classed as good, and sadly it’s not always the case for me. I was recently contacted by Tempur, following a recent campaign to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity. For every mattress purchased in May, Tempur made a donation to the charity, to aid valuable research into the links between sleep and mental health. According to the charity, there’s a really close relationship between sleep and mental health- dealing with emotional stresses can have a direct impact on how well you sleep, which in turn then has an effect on your mental health. I recognise this spiral of almost unstoppable ripples- I’ve gone from believing I needed sleeping tablets to block out the trauma of my son’s birth, to eventually admitting that I would not improve my sleep until I dealt with the whole mess of it all. And there are still days where I feel so physically and emotionally exhausted that all I want to do is curl up and cry, and sleep, and sleep some more.

Poor sleep leads to worrying. Worrying leads to poor sleep. Worrying about sleep is like your mind trying to fight itself. That’s a horrible place to be.


So what have I done? What I am now doing to change my sleep habits? Can you even really change your sleep habits? For me, it’s a lifelong commitment. I’ve worked really hard in the last two years to make sleep a Can You Change your Sleep Habits? _Ghostwitermummy.co.ukpriority for me. I need those around me to realise that I cannot function on little sleep, and that sometimes I may need to bow out for a while so that I can re-charge and regenerate. That means early nights, and fewer early mornings. That means recognising the signs that I am doing too much and need to slow down. That means putting myself and my own needs first sometimes. It’s a work in progress, but that’s ok. Sometimes I might cancel plans, or I might turn down invitations for nights out but I’m ok with that. I’m fine with more early nights and I’m happy to forgo that glass of wine and that chocolate bar because I know my body. I know my mind. And for me, eating well, sleeping well and feeling well means I will sleep well- and a good night these days is priceless.

This post is in conjunction with Tempur but all thoughts are my own


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Why Kids Need to Know About Sun Safety

As a child I experienced sun burn more than once on holiday, and I can still remember how painful it was. Looking back, I’m slightly horrified that it even happened; if one of my own kids were to catch the sun in such a way I’d be devastated! These days, education surrounding sun protection and the dangers of being exposed to UV rays (for all ages, not just children) is so much more sophisticated than it used to be, and there are so many more options around for parents too. That said, there are still some alarming figures when it comes to sun damage and skin cancer in the UK. This is why kids need to know about sun safety.

Why Kids Need to Know About Sun SafetyAccording to Boots Soltan, England has the world’s fastest growing melanoma rates. It’s now the UK’s most common cancer for 15-35 year olds, rising by a staggering 345% in the last 30 years! Knowing that there are  proven links between cases of childhood sun exposure and skin cancer, I feel more strongly than ever that we need to reinforce sun safety messaging from an early age. Yes, it’s a pain each year when the sun appears to get that text from school to say we MUST bring hats and suncream to school, but what’s the alternative? Sun burn? Heat stroke? Worse? This summer Boots Soltan are working hard with schools to carry on driving home the message that children need to be protected in the sunshine. Even in the UK with ‘poor summers’ we’re exposed to UV rays, which are responsible for 86% melanoma cases in the UK- and it’s our duty to make sure our kids understand not only how to stay safe, but why it’s so important to do so. (more…)

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Five Revision Tips for Parents

Five Revision Tips for Parents_Ghostwritermummy.co.ukI can hardly believe we now have a child in high school. It hasn’t been the easiest of rides so far, but the road is gradually beginning to smooth and the bumps are becoming fewer, which is a huge relief. High school has been a major change for us all; we’ve been so used the relaxed nature of a primary school with very little homework, and I’m not sure if that’s an entirely good thing after all. The level of homework has been a shock to us all, and the end of year exams are now placing the pressure firmly down on our shoulders to say the least. The school are excellent at keeping parents involved with the teaching and learning goals for the kids, and we recently attended a revision meeting that left us with no doubt as to the importance they’re placing on the exams that are looming. As parents, we’re facing a new challenge- we need to make sure our eldest has the confidence, skills and application to sit down and revise for her exams, but at the some time we want to ensure that she remains cool, calm and relaxed as much as she can. I don’t want my 12 year old becoming stressed over her results, but I do want to help her do her best. This is what they mean when they say parenting is a constant juggling act, isn’t it? Here are my five revision tips for parents- let me know what you think. (more…)

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Three Beautiful Home Decor Ideas for the Work at Home Mum

  1. When I decided to work from home, I had all these dreamy ideas of what it was going to be like. Leisurely school runs (we could take our time seeing as I didn’t have to rush to the office on someone else’s schedule), followed by a hot coffee at my desk before settling down to the day’s tasks. I’d take on board all the advice I’d read by popping to the gym during my lunch hour, and making sure I took proper breaks to stretch, to potter and to simply enjoy being at home amongst my own beautiful things. The reality? Yep, it couldn’t be further from this actually. The mornings are rushed, despite having been up working since 5am. There is no time for hot coffee because that time is used to clear up the mess from breakfast and to put on yet another wash, which then causes the washing machine to rattle and bang for a good hour whilst I try to concentrate on what I need to do for the day. I do make time for the gym, but it always means even more work piling up afterwards. And enjoying my surroundings? I would, except that almost six years in and now I’m getting a little tired of them! We recently converted our garage into an amazing office space and since then I’ve been coveting accessories and home decor ideas that are going to make the dream of revelling in my space a reality. So with this in mind, here are five beautiful home decor ideas for the work at home mum from Uncommon Goods- because let’s face it. When you’re stuck with the same four walls all day and a never ending to do list for work, you need your space to look good!Three Beautiful Home Decor Ideas for the Work at Home Mum_Ghostwritermummy.co.uk


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