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How to sleep well

Most of us realise that getting enough high-quality sleep is essential in almost all aspects of health, from improving mental wellbeing to avoiding long term degenerative diseases. Although we might think we are getting enough rest, many of us are not experiencing the full benefits of a good night’s sleep.

With sleep deprivation being a contributing factor to depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, we need to see how we can get a better quality of sleep to protect and improve our health.

When we think of sleep deprivation, we often assume this term only applies to those with sleep disorders like insomnia, new parents, or shift workers. It is recommended that we need 8 or more hours a night, so what surprises most people is that sleep deprivation can apply to anything less than 7 hours a night on a consistent basis, in fact the average amount is 6.5 hours a night. Some of the causes of this are our access to technology, busy work schedules and more sedentary jobs.

Here are a few simple suggestions which can help.

by Caroline Hurley I.I.H.H.T ART(Reg)

Style of Wight Magazine – Autumn 2020

  • Get some ‘outside’ time every day. If you are physically tired, it will help improve the quality of your sleep and being in nature is very calming.
  • Try to keep to a pattern. Go to bed and get up and the same time every day.
  • Avoid any sugary foods and drinks in the evenings as this can increase your blood sugar levels and keep you alert for longer.
  • Avoid caffeine after midday including coffee, tea, or green tea.
  • Avoid alcohol where possible as this can impact sleep quality.
  • End all screen time, including video games, computers, mobile phones and TV, at least two hours before bed. If you must use your phone or tablet before bed, make sure it is set to ‘night shift mode’ or wear blue light glasses.
  • Avoid taking your tablet or mobile phone to bed with you. Alternatively, you could switch your device to airplane mode and place it on the other side of the room.

Try a warm bath or shower before bed or use some aromatherapy. I personally like to use ESPA’s Soothing Bath or Soothing Body oil. It is an aromatic body oil that helps relax a busy mind. Sandalwood, Rose Geranium and Frankincense help unwind with their soothing and restful properties. Myrrh helps ease the mind, while Sweet Almond Oil deeply nourishes for beautifully skin. This calming bath oil can be used whenever you feel the need for a sense of peace. Draw your bath, add one or two inner caps of oil, immerse yourself then deeply inhale the aroma. You can find the ‘Soothing’ collection at BeCalmed in Cowes. In the collection you can choose from bath oils, body oils, candles, and fragrant reeds. Available in store or via their on-line store:

  • To help prevent busy thoughts, keep a note pad next to your bed and write down your thoughts before you go to sleep.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows and make sure your room is dark enough so that outside light does not disturb you.
  • You may also find it beneficial to try mindfulness or a Progressive Muscle Relaxation recording before going to bed (there are lots of apps out there to help with this)

So, make the most of the autumn evenings, curl up with a book, enjoy a relaxing bath and sleep well.

Look after your immune system

How to look after your immune system is in the forefront of many people’s minds at the moment. Here are a few simple suggestions which may help you:


Sleep is essential to help repair and restore many of the body’s functions. Lack of sleep can affect our immunity, leaving us more susceptible to illnesses including viruses. While we sleep the immune system releases proteins called cytokines which not only help us response to stress but are also important for fighting infections and inflammation. I like to think of sleep as your shield against stress and will help protect you.


Vitamin C has long been recognised as helping to build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells which are key to fighting infections.Popular sources include: grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, kiwi and leafy greens

Because your body does not produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it is easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal. If you are unable to get enough vitamin C from your food, then try supplementing.


Our bodies contain more cells belonging to microbes, such as bacteria and yeasts, than human ones meaning that we live in a symbiotic relationship with our gut bacteria. Not only do our microbes form protective barriers, they also programme our immune systems. So, it is important that we look after our gut bacteria to help us fight the viruses that are constantly around us. To feed your gut flora, eat a more varied diet rich in plant food and lots of high fibre. Supplementing with probiotics can have some benefits but not all will survive the journey through your digestive tract, so it is more effective to change your diet. Kefir yogurt and pickles such as sauerkraut and kimchi are among the fermented delicacies now fashionable thanks to our increasing knowledge of the microbiome. For those who are vegan or have a diary intolerance, why not try water kefir. Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made with water kefir grains. Water kefir grains can be used to culture sugar water, juice, or coconut water. You can grow the kefir at home, creating lots of lovely ways to add this to your diet.

So, make sure that looking after your personal health and wellbeing is a priority to keep you well and able to fight off this virus.

by Caroline Hurley I.I.H.H.T ART(Reg)

April 2020


There is one gift worth giving yourself this year and it is a gift that keeps on giving, treat yourself with compassion. Kindfulness is mindfulness’s more compassionate sister, it means being consciously kind to others and yourself. Kindfulness incorporates two important things, being kind to yourself and others, and mindfulness where you bring the busy mind back to the present moment in a non-judgemental way.

I have written in this column before about the benefits of mindfulness. Kindfulness can also help us to change the negative voice in our head so it becomes calming and supportive rather than critical and undermining. This will give us the space to become aware of our own personal patterns of self-criticisms and unhelpful beliefs. Taking a step back to observe will stop us getting lost in our negative thoughts and will be replaced with a friendly supportive voice. As with mindfulness, this will take practice but building moments of awareness into your day, will give you a boost. Many of our clients at BeCalmed, use their time with us to help support this process as they realise the importance of being kind to themselves. They have given themselves permission to stop, allowing their body and mind to relax.

Let us start 2020 by accepting that we are a work in progress and not perfect. Focusing on what is wrong with us whilst waiting for the final goal to be achieved will waste the valuable time you have right now. This approach can boost motivation making you more likely to achieve the goals you are setting yourself this year. So today try and accept who you are and whatever comes your way then take a moment to notice how you feel. Making the change to ‘Kindfulness’ will help boost your happiness, reduce stress and is known to be one of the most psychologically liberating things you can do.

So, if you want to have someone in your life, who always has your best interests at heart, accepts you for who you are and helps you reach your full potential, look no further than yourself.

by Caroline Hurley I.I.H.H.T ART(Reg)

Style of Wight Magazine – January 2020

Winter Wellbeing

Many people dread the winter, wishing away the days until the warmth of the sun returns. I prefer to embrace this season and have a more ‘hygge’ approach. The Danes created hygge to help them survive the cold, dark winters. It is a word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. The simple act of enjoying a warming cup of coffee in the morning, a home cooked meal with friends or lighting candles in your home to create the perfect mood.

There are many things we can enjoy this time of year, the smell of the season, a walk in the woods, a hearty meal, the light on a freezing cold morning, winter woollies, Christmas Markets, the list goes on. American Travel writer Paul Theroux says that ‘Winter is a season of recovery and preparation’ and for many of us this is true. Many choose this time to tuck themselves away in a warm and cosy treatment room and enjoy some time to themselves with a spa treatment. This can be a time to recover from the season of shopping and party going, time to recover from the stress of everyday life. Winter is also a great time to give your skin that little extra treat. Facials are perfect for this as they not only allow you a little ‘me’ time and an excuse for a good pamper, but they actually work wonders for your skin.

I agree with English Poet Dame Edith Sitwell who wrote "Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home”

by Caroline Hurley I.I.H.H.T ART(Reg)

Featured in Magpie Anthology Autumn 2019

Did you know that doing what you love is good for you?

What are the health benefits of sailing?

There are several components to fitness. They include aerobic fitness, cardio-vascular fitness, anaerobic capacity, and muscular strength. Sailing affects aerobic capacity; the oxygen uptake during sailing is greater than when you play tennis or baseball. The more physical the class you are in, the greater development of your cardio-respiratory fitness. Muscle strength is another of the health benefits of sailing. Muscle strength will increase the body’s metabolic rate by helping your body burn more calories. Muscle endurance is very important during repetitive movements. This can be accomplished by moderate resistance training and a moderate amount of repetitions. Muscle endurance refers to how much exercise and movement your muscles can take. Sailing is great for this and it will also improve flexibility and agility! Just remember that those muscles also need to be taken care of. Here are my top tips to keep you out on the water for longer and reducing the risk of injury:

Stretching – most sailors forget that sailing is a sport so stretch those muscles before and after you sail

Posture – it is virtually impossible to watch your posture while sailing so work on those core muscles off shore. This is best achieved through Pilates, or working on the abdominal muscles in the gym.

Massage - is a great way to stop lactic acid building up so reducing aches and pains after your sail.

ESPA ‘Just For You’ Massage is a personalised therapeutic massage using the skill of your therapist to select the most suitable combination of essentials oils and massage techniques to suit your individual needs. The depth of the treatment will be adapted to your needs

So - do you need any more excuses to get out on the water?! And we will be here to help you feel and look good when you get ashore.

by Caroline Hurley I.I.H.H.T ART(Reg)

Featured in Cowes Port handbook – Spring 2010

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