‘A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow’ (Charlotte Bronté)
It would be easy to assume that the sleepless night is a modern phenomenon but the quote above from Charlotte Bronté was made in the early 19th century and helps illustrate the fact that insomnia has plagued busy minds throughout history. The curse of sleeplessness has never been more talked about and right now it feels like every day a news or magazine article is either highlighting the health risks associated with poor sleep or listing potential solutions to this age-old problem.
While Bronté’s mind was no doubt buzzing with the novels and poems that she needed to get out of her head and onto paper, the modern world does not make it easy for us mere mortals to switch off our poor, overworked brains on demand. Despite never being more aware of how important sleep is, relentless stimulation and artificial light from screens can often trick our minds into going into overdrive just when we should be drifting off...
There can be many reasons for struggling with insomnia and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and recent events have understandably caused an increase in the number of people reporting issues with sleep. An article in the Guardian reported that the number of Britons suffering sleep loss caused by worrying rose from one in six to one in four as a direct result of the huge disruption to people’s social and working lives after the COVID-19 restrictions began on 23 March. This coupled with the fast pace of life these days almost makes it hard to believe that we ever manage a restful night! There has always been, and always will be, something that we could choose to worry about and dwell on but never have we had access to so much information, stimulation and ‘bad news’.
The good news is that of all the potential remedies one of the most effective at de-cluttering the brain, and surely the most fun, is mindful exercise.. The Sleep Foundation lists cardio exercise and yoga as some of the most effective forms of physical activity to aid a restful night’s sleep. This may be due to the increase in body temperature, and then the subsequent post-exercise cooling encouraging the body and mind to drift off at bedtime.
Exercise may also alleviate insomnia by reducing over-stimulation, anxiety and depressive symptoms all of which can cause sleep problems. The ‘mindful’ element comes in when you become fully engaged and immersed in the activity that you are undertaking. You’re paying attention to your body: your muscles, breathing, resistance, and tension as well as taking time to notice what’s around you. With this in mind, there is surely no better place to work out your body and mind than in the stunning surroundings of the Polurrian on the Lizard.
It is often said that nothing helps more with a good night’s sleep than a day by the coast and a ‘good dose of sea air’. There are theories as to why this may be, most people agree that it is probably a combination of increased levels of oxygen in the air, the soothing sounds of the sea that lower stress levels and calm the mind and the inevitable light exercise that is undertaken whenever by the ocean, such as walking or swimming.
Combining invigorating yet relaxing exercise routines, under the careful guidance of expert instructors, with beautifully prepared fresh meals, stunning views and lungfuls of fresh, Cornish sea air, well…this may be best medicine available (the super-comfy luxurious beds will help too!).
At the Polurrian on The Lizard there is a programme of health and wellbeing activities to strengthen the body and soothe the mind…recalibrating and resetting the circadian rhythms and allowing your restless soul to completely unwind and let go.
If you really want to guarantee a visit to the ‘Land of Nod’ why not book in a full body massage or another one of the heavenly spa treatments on offer as well? Details of all currently available health and wellbeing sessions and treatments are listed below, though these are updated seasonally, so please check the Wellbeing page for up-to-date options.