We all feel better after a good night’s rest, but many of us struggle to achieve this important part of our day. Experts say we need between 7 and 9 hours sleep to stay healthy, but one in three of us suffers from poor sleep.
How can we get a better night of sleep? Discover these eight tips and give them a try to get some well-earned rest.
Keep a regular sleep schedule
Our bodies respond well to a programme. If you can go to sleep and wake up at around the same time each day, you will be more likely to fall asleep without too much trouble. Try keeping a diary of the times you go to sleep and wake for a few weeks to track your progress.
We all know that exercise has benefits for our general health, but it can also help us to sleep better. Regular swimming or walking can help to relieve tension, aiding relaxation later on. However, vigorous exercise like running or hitting the gym can have the opposite effect and keep us alert when we want to relax, so keep these activities for first thing in the day.
Make your bed a comfy place to be
This will be different for each of us, but your bed should be somewhere you enjoy being. Choose a mattress that suits you, be that softer or on the firmer side. Choose bedding that makes you feel warm and comforted, perhaps a brushed cotton sheet? Your bed should help you to relax and drift off easily.
Cut out caffeine
A cup of coffee might seem like a great pick me up, but it can interfere with your sleep. That’s because it blocks sleep inducing chemicals in our brain and it can take around 6 hours for one half of a cup of coffee’s caffeine to leave your system. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch to help you sleep.
Similar to caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant. Smokers tend to take a little longer to fall asleep and can have more disrupted sleep patterns. Try to give up smoking completely, or limit your intake, especially before bed time.
Want more advice on how to get a good night’s sleep? Read our guide on a peaceful night’s sleep
Write it out
For some of us, worrying keeps us awake. Keep a pen and notepad next to your bed and write down all your worries or things you need to remember before you go to bed. If you wake up during the night, write out anything that’s on your mind to allow it to relax.
It might seem like a good idea, but napping throughout the day can stop you from feeling sleepy later on when it’s time to get a full night’s rest. Try to avoid them if you can and focus on getting your night time routine down instead.
This might seem counterintuitive, but if you really cannot sleep, get up. Do something that will help you fall back to sleep – something boring or relaxing. Avoid TV or phone screens in this time as they can stimulate us. Try listening to relaxing music or reading instead.
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The information in this article is intended as advice only and should never be substituted for the advice of a medical professional. Always seek guidance from your GP if you are concerned about your health.