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Image / Editorial

25 Helpful Ways to Wellness

18th Sep 2014

If, like us, you find yourself lulled into a complete sense of ease and relaxation as soon as those delightful Ikea ads come on the radio – seriously, how many times can we say we actually look forward to advertisements today? – you’re going to love this. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to collate all of their lovely and very practical nuggets of wellness advice so that you may continue to start and end your day better. What’s more, we’ve even found out the identity of the man with what we reckon is one of the most soothing voices we’ve ever heard on the radio; Rikard Wolff.

What we really want to know, however, is if he’s available to record personalised soothing messages for all those times we just need to zone out.

If you’re reading, Rikard, hit us up.

1. Dogs move a lot in their sleep and wake up more often than humans. So instead of letting them in your bed, why not give them their own place to sleep? They’re happy just being in the same room as you and you’ll sleep better.

2. Light is a powerful instrument to regulate sleep cycle. You’ll get a much better night’s sleep if your room is in total darkness. So if you live near street lights (or you don’t like getting up at the crack of dawn) you may want to consider getting blackout blinds.

(Photo Credit: James Douglas)

3. Even when it doesn’t interfere with your ability to fall asleep, caffeine reduces the amount of time you spend in deep sleep, which is when your body rejuvenates and heals. So if you want a hot drink after 2 p.m. and still want to wake up feeling rested the next day, try decaf or even chamomile tea.

4. Between 18 and 22 degrees is perfect for a night’s sleep. Any hotter and you’ll be tossing and turning. Any cooler and you’ll shiver yourself awake. That’s why changing your duvet with the seasons will help you sleep better and wake up felling refreshed.

5. Eating a big meal late in the evening stimulates your body’s metabolism at the very time you need it to be slowing down. So for better sleep, try eating earlier and if you get hungry at bedtime, eat a banana. The source of magnesium and potassium help to relax muscles so you sleep better.

6. Lavender is known to slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure and put you into a relaxed state. So keeping some next to your bed will give you quality sleep with less tossing and turning. And it’s nice to wake up in a room that smells lovely.

7. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed. Lying awake staring at the ceiling makes you associate the bedroom with not sleeping, which can stop you sleeping in future. So go to another room and read a book, meditate or even do the dishes. Come back to the bedroom when you feel drowsy again and you should drift off in no time.

8. After a long night’s sleep, your body is naturally dehydrated and not operating at full capacity. To help you start the day feeling alert and energised, drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning. This will boost your metabolism, increase the oxygen flow to your brain and help to clear unwanted toxins from your body.

9. If the first thing you do in the morning is check your emails, you’re inviting stress into bed with you and increasing your working day by hours. So do something for yourself instead, like yoga or having breakfast with your family. You’ll enjoy your morning and perform better all day.

(Photo Credit: Carli Jean)

10. Running produces a rush of endorphins in the brain, which makes you feel exhausted and happy. But actually getting up and going for a run can be hard. So make it easier by leaving your kit next to the bed at night. You’ll be surprised how many more jogs you actually go on and how great you will feel.

11. Studies reveal that people who kiss their partner goodbye before leaving for work live on average five years longer than people who don’t. The kiss itself is not the key factor but kissers tend to start their day with a positive attitude, which leads to a healthier lifestyle.

12. As you get out of bed in the morning, open the curtains. Natural light stops your body releasing the sleep hormone, making you naturally more awake, alert and ready for the day.

13. There are lots of different types of mattresses out there. Finding the right one will mean there really will be no bed like home. You’ll sleep better and it could even eliminate back and joint pain in the morning.

14. Falling asleep is easier if you clear your head before getting into bed. If you are worrying about all the things you have to do tomorrow, you could try meditating. And if meditating isn’t your thing, write a to’do list. You’ll sleep better and have a plan for the day ahead.

15. A messy bathroom with bottles and brushes all over the place can make your morning routine stressful. Having your beauty essentials stored properly will help you glide through the morning and out the door on time and in a good mood.

(Photo Credit: Sonja Langford)

16. To avoid waking up with a painful crick in the neck, your pillow needs to support your head and keep the vertebrae in you neck aligned with the rest of your spine. But how it does this will be different for back, side and front sleepers. So find a pillow that is designed for how you sleep and you’ll miss out on those pain-in-the neck mornings.

17. You need quiet to enter a slow-wave sleep cycle, which is necessary to make you feel fully rested in the morning. Placing a thick bookcase against the wall can help muffle noise from next door. Rugs absorb noise from inside the room, while heavy curtains will keep out street noise.

18. Not all reading is recommended before bedtime. Avoid work-related materials and self-help books as they can stress you out and stop you getting sleep. Fiction is ideal, though. It excites the more imaginative areas of the brain and prepares the body to dream so you can drift off into a relaxing, restorative sleep.

19. If you set your alarm early so that you can hit the snooze button a couple of times, you are swapping good quality REM sleep for bad quality dozing sleep. Lack of REM sleep can leave you feeling tired and impair your mental functions all day. Instead, set your alarm for as late as you can get away with, then get up straight away. It may be tough at first, but you’ll feel sharper for the rest of the day.

20. A warm bath before bed relaxes your muscles and clears your head. You’ll find you fall asleep quicker, enjoy better quality sleep and a better day as a result of an evening soak.

21. Seeing a splash of colour when you open your eyes gets your adrenaline going and makes it easier to wake up. Give your bedroom a boost by choosing cheerful bed linen and colourful pillows. You may even find you start the day in a more positive frame of mind.

(Photo Credit: Lukasz Szmigiel)

22. Getting out of the house on time is much harder and more stressful when you can’t find an outfit to wear. A well-organised wardrobe lets you see and find everything easily. So you’ll find the outfit you want and start the day unflustered.

23. The oxytocin hormone released while getting busy in bed helps you relax and makes you naturally drowsy. So if you want a good night’s sleep, you may have to work for it.

24. Avoid screens at bedtime. They emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. Yellow light from lamps is much more cosy and will help you relax into a good night’s sleep.

25. If you get eight hours sleep but still wake up groggy and find it hard getting out of bed, this maybe because you are waking up during the deep sleep stage of your sleep cycle. Try downloading Ikea’s Happy Bed App to your phone. It is an alarm clock that works out when you should wake up, based on your individual sleep cycle. It will wake you during a light stage of your cycle, making getting up easier.