There are several simple steps you can do to help ensure a better night’s sleep:
Taking regular exercise helps to keep circulation moving and ensures the body’s cells get a constant supply of oxygen. Best if carried out in the late afternoon, exercise raises the body’s core temperature. It is the subsequent drop 2-4 hours later that can induce fatigue and eventually sleep.
Limit caffeine to the morning only to prevent it keeping you awake at night.
Even a slight amount of noise or light can affect how easily we fall asleep. Make sure your room is dark (invest in new curtains if necessary) and quiet, and don’t sleep with the heating on. Apart from making the room too hot it can dry out your skin! Don’t have the TV or computer on at bedtime, as they stimulate the brain and make it harder to relax. A sleep mask or earplugs (don’t use earplugs if you’re alone) can help if you’re especially sensitive to light or noise.
Create a regular routine at bedtime. Begin to relax about an hour before you want to go to sleep, have a decaffeinated hot drink (we find hot chocolate always does the trick!) try some light reading, have a hot bath or do some stretching exercises. Within a couple of weeks you will begin to associate certain activities with going to sleep and the process will become more natural.
When we experience a stressful event, such as bereavement or redundancy, sleeplessness may continue even after the event has been resolved, as the body learns to associate bedtime with being awake and alert. Ongoing worries can keep you awake as there is an inability to relax or switch off.