6 steps to a better nights sleep
Many people suffer from a lack of sleep, from occasionally waking during the night to not being able to get to sleep at all. Many factors can interfere with a good night’s sleep including work stress, family responsibilities and illness. However, there are habits you can adopt that encourage better sleep.
So we have put together some simple tips for a better night’s sleep to help you get those all important zzzz’s.
1. Keep a regular sleep schedule
The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours so set aside about eight hours for sleep. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to be well rested.
Try and go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
If you don’t fall asleep within about 20 minutes of going to bed, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to soothing music. Go back to bed when you’re tired. Repeat as needed, but try and continue to maintain your sleep schedule and wake-up time.
2. Be mindful of what you eat and drink
Don’t go to bed hungry or over full. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of your scheduled bedtime as discomfort may keep you awake.
The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can interfere with sleep so avoid them during and after your meal. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
3. Create a restful environment
Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light in the evenings often makes it harder to fall asleep. So avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens such as your mobile phone or the television just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening blinds or curtains, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create a bedroom environment that suits you.
Taking a bath or using relaxation techniques such as meditation or listening to a Podcast, may also help you drift off to sleep.
4. Limit daytime naps
Long daytime naps can interfere with night time sleep. Limit naps to no more than one hour and avoid napping late in the day. However, if you work night shifts, you might need to take a short nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep deficit.
5. Make physical activity a part of your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Walking, cycling or jogging can help promote wellbeing as well as help you sleep better. But, avoid being active too close to bedtime.
6. Manage your worries
Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Write down what’s on your mind, in the order of priority and then set it aside for the next day. Stress management may also help. Start with the basics, such as getting organised, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation is also a good way to ease anxiety and stress.
Know when to contact your GP
Nearly everyone has the odd sleepless night. However, if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your GP. They can help you to Identify and treat any underlying causes.
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