Couple sleeping in bed

World Sleep Day 2023: How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep (According To An Expert)

Health & Beauty /

Ross J Barr gives his top tips for catching quality ZZZ’s

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Struggling with sleep? You’re not the only one. Over 70 percent of adults in the UK do not have the recommended seven to nine hours’ sleep a night, making it difficult to function when going about our business during the day. We sit down with London-based health and wellness practitioner Ross J. Barr to find out how we can get a better night’s sleep.

Ross J. Barr has been offering up his expertise (and acupuncture) for the past 15 years, specialising in a range of bespoke treatments to combat heath issues, including fatigue, tiredness, stress, and insomnia to name a few. Right in time for World Sleep Day, he’s offered his top tips for securing good sleep.

Ross Barr portrait

Ross J. Barr

How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep (According To An Expert)

Turn Off Your Phone

We all know this one, but we all do our best to avoid it for some reason. Apparently, we go through the fight or flight mechanism 100 times a minute with all the notifications and pop ups on our phones. It promotes the release of cortisol and inhibits the release of melatonin. Both things make it not only harder for us to fall asleep, but makes light, fitful sleep more likely. The adrenaline we run on naturally keeps us closer to consciousness in case there is actual danger afoot (even though there isn’t).


Meditation is wonderful, but it’s often the gift of the already healthy. Trying to meditate when you’re going through something traumatic or life changing can become just another thing to feel bad about ‘not’ doing. It’s hard when you’re going through something big. And so, I try and encourage patients to find a middle ground with ‘90s style meditation; like watching a film, the way we used to do on VHS or DVD. We’d put it in and commit to it and nothing else. No half watching something on Netflix whilst messing around on our phones with our laptop on the sofa next to us. That way you get the actual benefit of doing one thing at a time without our intent being split. And as a result, our body naturally lowers cortisol.


(c) Unsplash


If you have any type of sleep issues and you haven’t tried acupuncture, please do. It’s one of the most satisfying things to treat as it can make a huge difference in only a couple of sessions.

Read Before Going To Bed

I am not sure if there are many better sleep aids than an actual copy of a book. It’s hard to read when you’re adrenalized or stressed; we can barely flick through a magazine without feeling like there’s something else we should be doing. But if we can get into bed 30 minutes early and read a real book, something that has nothing to do with work or self-development or analysis – a piece of fiction for instance – it can do us a lot of good. There aren’t many nicer ways to calmly shut down our neural pathways or our physiology. I always notice with patients that they’re in a better place when they tell me they’ve started reading again.

Woman sleeping in bed

(c) Gregory Pappas, Unsplash

Sleep Patches

The little sleep patches are great for a few reasons. The great smell and the oils help calm neural pathways and agitation. The acupuncture point they stimulate is effective when it comes to clearing the mind, and even the intent we have in putting them on is great at starting the wind down process.

Staying Up Late

When people are having sleep issues it’s an incredibly lonely process and one that takes our rationale from us. One of the things people commonly do is try and exhaust themselves in the hope that they fall asleep better, but often this is what causes them to just become more wired, adrenalized and further away from shutting down into a deep replenishing sleep. Or when they fall asleep it will be an edgy dream-filled affair. Try getting into bed around 10.30pm with your book. Phone off in another room. Even if you lie there and read for two hours, that rest is so much more likely to lead you into a better quality of sleep.

Tools To Get You Started

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Packet of sleep patches

Ross J Barr’s Sleep Patches

Developed by Ross J. Barr these sleep patches include herbs such as wild jujube seed, coix seed, and polygala to help aid and support the induction of a deep sleep. Apply one sleep patch to each temple, 15 minutes before bed, and leave them on until the morning.

SHOP: Ross J Barr Calm Patches, £15,

Glass candle with blue label

anatome’s Recovery + Sleep Candle

We can’t relax if the space we’re in becomes a stressful environment. This gorgeously scented candle from anatome uses a blend of all-natural essential oils like English lavender, Somali frankincense, myrrh, Scots pine and sandalwood to support physical relaxation. Let your mind drift and your body lose tension as you drift off into a deep sleep.

SHOP: anatome Recovery + Sleep Candle, £45,

Books in a line

Book Bodega

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book, and as Barr recommends, look to fiction before bed. Independent book shop, Book Bodega has a whole host to get stuck into from classics to new releases and Booker Prize winners. Stop by the Ramsgate shop or buy online.

SHOP: Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood, £9.49,

Black circular box with white text

Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Good Night Sleep Food

This Good Night supplement by skincare expert, Dr. Barbara Sturm uses a blend of natural ingredients that can help relax the body and mind, encouraging a restorative and restful night’s sleep. A nutrient-rich complex, it includes lavender flower extract, valerian, passionflower and hops, along with Niacin, 5-HTP and vitamins B12 and B6 for a healthy functioning nervous system. Take two capsules a day with water 45 minutes before you go to bed. This pot contains 60 capsules.

SHOP: Dr. Barbara Sturm Good Night Sleep Food, £65,

Bamford’s Strato Atomising Diffuser

A brand-new product from Bamford, this cordless diffuser disperses essential oils into its surroundings, leaving a relaxing fragrance for up to twelve hours. The rechargeable device is made from a ceramic outer, recycled plastic inner and electrical components which can be recycled in-store at Bamford Mayfair and their Bamford Wellness Spas in London and the Cotswolds.

SHOP: Bamford’s Strato Atomising Diffuser, £120,

Mattress hovering above grass and plants

Simba’s GO Hybrid® Mattress

Simba’s most sustainable and organic mattress to date, it is incredibly comfortable thanks to the mixture of cushioning, support, technology, and natural biodegradable materials.

SHOP: Simba GO Hybrid® Mattress, from £2,399,

Blue sleep mask

Drowsy’s Silk Sleep Mask

For those who want to completely block out the light, this padded mask will do just that. It’s made from 22 momme pure mulberry silk, is 100 percent washable and has a fully adjustable head strap for comfort.

SHOP: Drowsy Silk Sleep Mask, £69,

Blue tube on blue cream on blue background

Neom’s Bedtime Hero Magnesium Body Butter

A customer favourite, this body butter by NEOM combines shea butter and aloe vera to nourish the skin, while the chamomile, ylang ylang, and cedarwood calms the mind. Use it as part of your evening routine.

SHOP: Neom Bedtime Hero Magnesium Body Butter, £30.60,

White and gold bottle of bath oil

ESPA’s Restful Bath & Body Oil

Pour this ESPA oil into your evening bath to start the wind-down process. Here, there’s a blend of oils including avocado, sweet almond, and soybean oils along with lavender, clary sage and eucalyptus to helping you to drift off.

SHOP: ESPA Restful Bath & Body Oil, £36,

Pink embroidered sack

Kit Kemp’s Moondog Lavender Bag

Calling all lavender lovers, this sweet hand embroidered bag (of a whimsical dog wishing upon a star) by Kit Kemp of Firmdale Hotels, is filled will locally sourced dried lavender. Place it on a chest of drawers and let the scent fill the room.

SHOP: Moondog Lavender Bag, £40,

Ross J Barr’s Calm Patches

These Calm Patches contain essential oils to promote a deeply relaxing olfactive experience, reliving tensions, brain fog, and soothing frustration and agitation. These small and discreet patches get to work straight away to target everyday stresses. Pack of 10.

SHOP: Ross J Barr Calm Patches, £15,

Glass candle

Diptyque’s Feuille De Lavande Small Candle

A cute candle to have by your bedside, this lavender scented candle has a 20-hour burn time. Have it lit whilst reading your book.

SHOP: Diptyque Feuille De Lavande Small Candle 70g, £33,

Featured image: Leann Cline, Unsplash