Simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference to your quality of sleep.
Follow these tips for a more restful night:
- Keep regular sleep hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better. Choose a time when you’re likely to feel tired and sleepy.
- Create a restful sleeping environment
- If you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you, consider moving it somewhere else if it often disturbs you in the night.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable
- Moderate exercise on a regular basis, such as swimming or walking, can help relieve some of the tension built up over the day. But make sure you do not do vigorous exercise, such as running or the gym, too close to bedtime, as it may keep you awake.
- Cut down on caffeine in tea, coffee, energy drinks or colas, especially in the evening. Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep and also prevents deep sleep. Instead, have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea.
- Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant. People who smoke take longer to fall asleep, wake up more frequently, and often have more disrupted sleep.
- Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle yoga to relax your mind and body. Your GP may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation CD.
- Write away your worries in dairy or a to-do list
- If you cannot sleep, do not lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then go back to bed.
Make an appointment to see your GP if lack of sleep is persistent and it’s affecting your daily life.