Most of us can improve our sleep by making a few changes to our daily routine. But for some of us there are reasons why our sleep is poor such as money worries or stress. Only by tackling these underlying causes can sleep be improved.
Get up at the same time every day. It’s tempting to have a lie-in, but by getting up at the same time every day, even at weekends and even if you feel tired. Do this for at least 10 days to get the full benefit.
Avoid daytime naps. When you’re tired, you are likely to want a nap, but dozing off during the day won't help you sleep better at night, it might even make it harder.
Take 30 minutes of exercise every day. Exercise can help you sleep better, but don't exercise in the hours before you go to bed.
Improve your bedtime routine
Avoid caffeine and alcohol for four hours before bed. This includes coffee, tea, and some energy and soft drinks.
Try not to have a big evening meal. It's harder to get to sleep when your stomach's too full.
Only go to bed when you’re tired. If you wake up, it’s generally better to get out of bed than toss and turn. Listen to soft music or anything that distracts you, only go back to bed when you're sleepy.
Avoid your phone, laptop or tablet. Try not to use these before you go to bed. The bright light makes it harder for your brain to know it’s time to sleep.
Don't take over-the-counter sleeping tablets. They’re unlikely to be effective, and they won't help with your underlying problem. If you do want to try them, ask your pharmacist or GP for advice.
TIP: Alcohol doesn't help you sleep, in fact it does the opposite.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Read a paper book with a dim light, listen to soft music, have a bath or shower. Going through your routine signals to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep.
Write a to-do list for the next day. Do this as part of your bedtime routine, and include things you’re trying to figure out and some ideas for how you’ll try to sort them out. That should help you put them out of your mind until the next day.
Don't watch the clock. This could just make you more anxious.
Improve your sleeping environment
Make sure your bedroom's dark enough. Use blackout curtains or thick blinds or wear an eye mask.
Check your bedroom temperature. Not too hot or too cold, it should be at a good temperature to sleep.
Try wearing earplugs. These can be useful if you’re often woken up by noise.
Get comfy. Get a comfortable mattress, a pillow that's at the right height for you and the right duvet and blanket.
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