Sleep at regular times – keep regular sleeping hours, even at the weekend, this programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine. Adults need an average of 7.5 hrs sleep per night, you know what time you need to get up, so make sure you get to bed on time to fit in those 7.5 hrs.
Have a good bed time routine – relax and wind down before bed, a warm bath or shower will help your body reach a temperature ideal for rest. Write a gratitude diary, encouraging the brain to think positively before sleep. Practice some relaxing yoga, or listen to relaxing music or read a book, listen to a hypnotherapy download – all things that relax the mind by distracting it.
Make your bedroom sleep friendly – your bedroom needs to be dark, quiet, tidy and kept cool. Have a comfortable bed helps. Ideally no electronics in the room, but if you can’t remove them then unplug them and cover them up. Put your phone in another room so you are not tempted to look at if you wake up.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine – caffeine can take 8 hours to leave your system, so an afternoon coffee or cola can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night. Nicotine is a stimulant, often causing smokers to sleep only very lightly.
Avoid alcoholic drinks – alcohol before bed robs you of the ability to reach REM sleep, and keeps you only in the light stages of sleep. REM sleep is required for memory retention, processing emotions and plays a significant part in relieving anxiety.
Avoid large meals or drinks late at night – these can cause indigestion and/or cause you to get up to the use the bathroom often.
Don’t take naps in the afternoon – naps can help make up for lost sleep, but later afternoon naps make it hard to sleep that night.
Don’t lie in bed – if you’re unable to sleep, get up and do something relaxing, don’t lie in bed and get anxious about not sleeping.
TV’s and tablets – avoid screen time 2 hours before bed. The blue light in TV’s, computers, tablets delay the production of Melatonin (the sleep switch).
The single most important thing you can do to get a good nights sleep is to reduce your stress! A busy mind can prevent you getting to sleep, or it can wake you up in the night and keep you awake. One of the most common things people mention when they come to see me is lack of sleep. The next time they see me the vast majority of people repost that their sleep is improving already!