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I didn't have a good sleep the other night. I don't know why but I woke up in the morning with a really stiff neck. As much as I love my bed and usually relish my sleep in it - as I've admitted on at least one previous occasion, I am a night owl and it does take me a while to drag myself to my boudoir - that particular night I'd gone to bed when I actually wasn't tired and only fell asleep after much tossing and turning. It probably doesn't help that the majority of my days are spent in front of the computer screen and as much as I know, I don't take as many breaks away from it as I probably should. But anyway, when I woke up, the crick in my neck was really painful. You know what I mean, when you can only turn your head to one side and to see anyone on the other side, you literally have to turn your whole body! 
 
And it's one of those things that you can't seem to do anything to alleviate. I often wonder at those people who use their left arm to grab the right side of their head and pull their head over - you know the ones. What the heck is that supposed to do? Does it work? The only time I tried it, I actually felt worse! 
 
I do feel that having a comfortable bed and the a right pillow helps though. Ok, we're not going to get into that argument about why us women feel an unnecessary need to have 3 pillows and 3 cushions on each side of the bed, I'll stop you right there in your tracks! Having 3 pillows means that if only one pillow is not enough, you can double up and the other, spare pillow is there for comfort/cuddling. As for the cushions, the bed looks oh so much prettier with a little bit of contrast/complementing, so there! 
 
While I'm on the subject of pillows, what is it with square pillows in France? Out of all the countries I've visited, France is the only one that has square pillows. I've never come across square pillows anywhere else. If someone can let me know why France feels the need to be square when every other country is rectangular, please contact me. 
 
So, where was I? Oh yes, well, several years ago (and by several, I mean way back to the time when Kevin McCloud had not long hit the scene with Grand Designs and took over most of the NEC for the Ideal Home Show exhibition) myself and the hubby had the experience of trying out one of these 'revolutionary' memory form mattresses. O.M.G! It was amazing! So comfortable and it completely moulds to your individual body, no falling into the valley created by your heavier other half! Well, me and the hubby were completely sold and we invested in one of the mattresses. So, along with my wonderful memory foam mattress, I have a firm pillow and a medium pillow and a softer one. Generally, I sleep on the medium pillow but on that particularly night, I'd chosen the softer one and spent most of the night tossing and turning, trying to bash this soft pillow into the right shape to induce a comfortable sleep. Hmmm, it obviously didn't work. 
 
Point to note here: I was so impressed with the memory foam mattresses, that we got them for the beds at LMQ! 

Get help 

I spent a good few hours of my morning bemoaning the fact that I just couldn't shake off this crick in my neck. Reverting to that good old search engine - yes, the one that loosely rhymes with 'noodle' - a few sites confirmed my suspicion that sleeping awkwardly without much head support may be one of the triggers. I'm sure the fact that I was tossing and turning with probably lots of ideas running around in my head didn't help so I also contacted a friend of mine, Chrissie Lord, who is a health and well-being practitioner (www.nourrirbien.com, tel: 0642 220 333) to ask for her advice. Being able to speak with someone with the appropriate knowledge is priceless. Chrissie uses her extensive medical experience to create personalised sleep formulas which will usually do the trick and because they are all natural, there are no side effects. 
So, now I'm getting somewhere. You know what though? It's not just a case of sorting out your mattress , getting the right pillow and a sleep tincture. Being in the right frame of mind and being relaxed is part and parcel. 
 
Practising mindfulness and/or meditation before retiring to your bedroom, induces the right state of mind to get the most efficient rest. There are some great, free mindfulness podcasts out there that anyone can access; several YouTubers have channels that can be worth following - and even making yourself a lovely, relaxing music playlist - try tracks by Amy Lee of Evanescence - to listen to before bed can work wonders. 
 
I'm listening... 
 
My daughter would always soak in a deep bubble bath, relaxing as the water gently hugged her into submission while listening to her personal playlist. She maintains that she needs at least 9 hours sleep to function properly. I wouldn't go that far - the indulgence of youth eh? Who's got the time to sleep for a whole 9 hours without going to bed at some silly hour of the day. Yes, I said 'day' because didn't you read the bit at the beginning where I said I was a night owl? There's too much to do before midnight to warrant going to bed beore then... just saying. 
 

having a cockroach run across my face wasn't even the worse part... 

Anyway, waking up with a sore neck is actually not my worse sleep related incident. To get into context, take some time to concentrate on the photo near the beginning of this.... it's lovely isn't it? Conjures up the warm breeze caressing your face, the sound of the waves lapping at the shore... Now picture this - it's the night before my wedding day and I'm in Jamaica, land of stunning tropical beaches and clear seas, lying in my gorgeous beachside apartment, enveloped in a soft, comfortable bed. Then, I feel something crawling on me! OMG!! The light was on in a flash but, you know what? Having what looked like THE BIGGEST COCKROACH I have ever seen run Across My Face wasn't even the worse part; I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom to wash my face, only to find that my face had blown up and I looked like a football!!! 
 
The outcome of that particular incident is a whole other story but, suffice to say, for the purposes of this story, the crick in my neck was gone by the end of the day so normal sleep patterns have resumed zzzz. 
 
 
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