Sleep plays a vital part of the foundation for good health and wellbeing throughout your life. Your ability to function and feel well while you are awake depends on whether you are getting enough total sleep (7-8 hours a night), enough of each type of sleep and the quality of sleep. It also depends on whether you are sleeping at a time when your body is naturally programmed to be asleep.
Some ways to improve your sleep habits include:
- Getting into a sleep routine
- Using the hour before bed to wind down, for example avoiding strenuous exercise, minimising artificial light from TVs/computers/phone screens
- Avoiding nicotine and caffeine later in the day and avoiding alcoholic drinks before bed
- Taking a hot bath or use relaxation techniques
- Keeping the bedroom quiet, cool and dark
- Limit daytime naps to a maximum of 20 minutes
It is normal to wake briefly during the night, but if you are having trouble falling back asleep some techniques you can try include:
- Relaxation methods such as visualisation, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or meditation
- If you feel like you can’t turn your brain off, write down your thoughts so you can deal with them in the morning
- Try not to stress about your inability to sleep; it will only encourage your body to stay awake
- If you are unable to get back to sleep in 15 minutes, get up and do a non-stimulating activity such as folding washing or reading a book. Just make sure it is in dim light!
For more information speak to your GP, or ask about our Healthy Sleep Clinics.