Sleep is essential in life and without it all sorts of problems can arise. In today’s fast moving lifestyles we don’t always have time to chill prior to going to bed but there are some things you can do to help you sleep.

Enjoy a soothing warm bath before you go to bed and put lavender oil in your bath water. Or add two drops of Frankincense essential oil to the bath as this deepens breathing and helps you to unwind. Spray your pillow before you get in bed with lavender spray. Heat up a lavender wheat bad and pop it in your bed under your pillow half an hour before resting.

Do some yoga and stretching to relax. There are plenty of websites where you can download the best stretching and relaxation techniques if you cannot make it to a class.

Listen to calming music. If you find your mind is still active when you go to bed then listen to some soothing music using earphones and try to listen in the dark to help you focus on the music and not what is around you. If you have to sleep in daylight hours then buy some eye masks. Some have lavender scent in them which will help you to fall asleep.

Meditate to tame your intrusive thoughts and tension. Concentrate on your breathing and try to listen to your breaths. There are lots of advice or books available on meditation on the internet.

Make sure your room temperature is comfortable, not hot nor cold but something in between. A lightweight duvet with a throw on top can be more comfortable than a heavy duvet in the winter. You can always put socks on if your feet are cold.

Avoid foods before you go to bed with any type of caffeine in them like tea, coffee, chocolate and cola. Try to have nothing else to eat at least three hours before your go to bed. If you want a hot drink then try chamomile tea. If its not to your taste then mix it with a fruit tea as the fruit flavour will come through more than the chamomile.

Count, if you don’t want to count sheep then just count down from a hundred or up from one. I’ll guarantee you wont make it to the end of either of them.

If you have to read then make sure it’s not a thriller which might stimulate the brain and have a small enough light to read but not bright enough to lighten the whole room.

If you live with someone who likes to have the television on when they go to bed then invest in a pair of wireless ear phones so that the noise does not keep you awake and pop some eye masks on so the light from the television doesn’t disturb you. This trick really worked for me as my husband loves the tv on in the bedroom and I just couldn’t sleep but now I have no problems when its on.

Finally, don’t think an alcoholic drink will help you to sleep as it may send you off but most alcohol has a diuretic effect and it will wake you up to use the loo which could then mean you not being able to get back to sleep.

Try a herbal remedy with hops, passion flower and Valerian from Napiers Sweet Dreams Sleep Remedy.


Place the tips of your index and middle fingers on the centre of your breastbone, at the acupressure point known as ‘Sea of Tranquility’. Now close your eyes and apply steady pressure, not too hard, for a minute or two. You will then soon feel tension, anxiety and stress start to slip away.

You could also use your first two fingers and tap them across the top o fou rhead from temple to temple. Then work from front to back and side to side as this can get blood and oxygen moving to ease tension and restore focus.

To destress your shoulders make a gengle half closed fist and with a loose wrist, tap your right hand gently but firmly up your left arm, along your shoulder and up the side and back of your neck. Repat the same process on the other side to ease tension and release endorphins.


The Wallis Stabilisation Technique is another option for lower back pain. It is performed at a few clinics in the UK.

It involves placing an implant behind the spinal cord to help stabilise the painful segment.

Usually fusing the vertebrae is the most common method used but the Wallis Stabilisation Technique is a soft stabilisation that allows some movement in the particular spinal segment.

It also helps to eliminate any bone disruption and is totally reversible keeping all further surgical options open to the patient.

This would have been great for me as due the type of spinal fusions I have had it has meant that although there are a number of other techniques now available for back pain. I could not possibly have them because of my previous surgeries.

The procedure is also minimally invasive.


Walking for health encourages people to get active by arranging health waks up and down the Country for all levels of fitness.

Walking will improve stamina, help keep weight gain at bay and reduce your risk of major diseases. 20 minutes of walking can burn up 100 calories.

It is also beneficial for SAD sufferers who feel low and lathargic due to the lack of sunlight in the winter months.

Walking for life was set up in 2000 and now has over 600 local schemes with 66,000 regular walkers nationwide. Over the Christmas period, walking for life registered their 100,000th walker onto their database.

For more details of walks in your area go to the website


My last session of acupuncture was actually ‘electroacupuncture’, which has only recently come into use. Some say it dated back to the 1800s but others say its was discovered by a Japanese scientist in 1940s who was interested in finding out how to heal bone fractures more quickly.

The difference between acupuncture and electroacupuncture is not that much really as the same points are stimulated during your treatment and put on specific points along your body. The needles are then attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses using small clips. These are used to adjust the frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered. Several pairs of needles can be stimulated simultaneously. It can also be done without needles which is probably the biggest difference between the two.

When I had my last session of electroacupuncture it really stirred my pain up and to be honest with you it put me of having any more treatment as the last thing I wanted was more pain rather than less pain.

Over the last three months I have been having one session a month with my Physiotherapist who has given me a few exercises to do and also done some manipulation but when I went for my treatment yesterday she asked me if I would like some acupuncture for a change.

This time the difference was totally amazing. I was sooooo relaxed I could have fallen asleep during the treatment, I needed no extra medication yesterday and for the first time in a long time I could nearly turn my head to the right without pain. I slept incredibly well last night and have been without pain in my neck today and again can nearly turn my head right without pain and stiffness. This is quite a big deal for me as I have had to neck fusion surgeries and have a plate in my neck which causes a lot of stiffness especially turning to my right.

I can’t wait for my next treatment which unfortunately will be my last of the six sessions she has with me but I can request some acupuncture with her when I go back to the pain clinic. The trouble with that is that it can take months before I go back to her and not weeks. I’ll just have to enjoy my pain free time while I can.:):)