What more can this columnist learn about sleep? A lot, it seems
Like us at Balance, you’ve probably read enough sleep advice to start your own column. “No caffeine after 3pm. No smartphone late at night.” Yes, very good, we get it. It can be so tiresome to hear the same thing over and over that it’s enough to make you feel positively soporific.
So, there was more than a degree of weary cynicism when the chance to have a one-on-one sleep consultation arose. However, in the same way the recalcitrant Banks children raised eyebrows at the thought of a nanny changing their lives, so Hope Bastine would prove my own Mary Poppins.
You can book Hope’s services and, if you’re feeling similarly sceptical, there is a firm-but-friendly maternal tone that ensures you will take her advice. It’s akin to a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down, but that’s literally the last thing she’d suggest. After all, just think of your blood-glucose levels.
Equal parts friendly chat, insight and playful wag of the finger, Hope insists that it’s your entire lifestyle that needs to change, rather than just, for example, not looking at your phone after 10pm. During a wide ranging consultation that went way beyond an hour, the first casualty was the 6am coffee.
With two young children (which is where my sleep issues can arise), I assumed she was joking, but her lips didn’t move. Pure Poppins. I now start off with a herbal tea, saving the coffee for a full hour later. Give me strength. And by “strength”, I mean “a flat white”. Oh, and last caffeine hit at 3pm? That’s a myth. Your last coffee should be a minimum of 12 hours before bedtime.
Once I’d stopped crying into my hands at the thought of two fewer coffees a day, mindful eating was recommended, as well as plants in the home: English ivy to improve air quality, for example.
We then enjoy some pillow talk, but not the type to put my marriage in jeopardy. Rather, when your head is on the pillow, it should be at the same angle as when you’re standing, leaving my Princess and the Pea-inspired two-pillow method in tatters. Bastine’s impact is cumulative and so far, I have faith in Hope.
While we stopped just shy of an elaborate dance routine involving chimney sweeps, it doesn’t get much more Poppins than being asked if my bedroom was tidy (I am 40). If yours isn’t, blitz it immediately.
I sense Hope is watching
Hope Bastine, Mindfulness & Sleep Psychologist, is speaking at SOMNEX, The Sleep Show, at The Old Truman Brewery from 12-14 October. For further information, visit somnexshow.com