f you’re struggling to sleep well at night, follow these top tips to help you put down that glass of warm milk and ditch the sheep counting.
1. Set a regular bedtime
Go to bed at the same time every day. Simple. Like children, we need routines to tell our bodies when it’s time to shut down.
Choose a time when you normally feel tired so you don’t toss and turn.
If you need to change the time, do it slowly over a few nights with 15 minute increments.
2. Wake up at the same time
Likewise with bedtime, you need a regular time to get out of bed sleepyhead. Try and maintain this even at weekends.
If you are getting enough sleep, you should wake naturally without the help of an alarm clock. Adjust your bedtime accordingly.
3. No shame in a nap
If you have a late night, top up your sleep bank by squeezing in a power nap in the day as opposed to having a lie in.
The ideal time to nap is early afternoon and for no more than 30 minutes.
4. Don’t fall asleep on the couch
A decision to nap is different to just dozing all the time.
If you find yourself falling asleep in front of the telly, or worse, at your desk - get up and do something else to wake yourself up. Make a phone call, go for a walk, do that pile of washing – whatever it is, try to stick to your sleep timetable.
5. Expose yourself to more light during the day
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone to help you regulate your sleep pattern. It is controlled by light exposure and your brain should secrete more during the evening to help you nod off.
Help your brain out by getting outside, without sunglasses, in your lunch break or walk into work in the morning.
At night, keep it dark by turning off your TV or computer while you try and go to sleep.
6. Make your bedroom a sanctuary
A comfortable bedroom means a cosy night’s sleep. Keep the rool cool, make sure your bed is roomy with nice clean sheets and keep the noise to a minimum.
Your bed should be for sleep and sex only. If you associate it with anything else like working, your body will not get the message that it’s time to switch off.
7. Adjust your evening meal
Stay away from big meals in the evening. Don’t eat heavy, rich food 2 hours before bed and fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest, which will keep you up.
Alcohol in the evening will reduce your sleep quality and whilst you might think it will help you to fall asleep, it wil probably wake you up in the middle of the night.