Struggling to get to sleep each night? Here are some tips to help improve the quality of your sleep each night.
- Sleep schedule
Try and ensure that you have a regular sleep schedule. Keeping this consistent even on weekends will help to regulate your sleep wake cycle. Attempting to wake up at the same time every morning even if you haven’t slept well the night before will help to heighten your sleep drive the following night for a better night’s sleep.
- Relaxing bedtime ritual
Engaging in relaxing activities before bed, whether it be having a warm bath, reading, meditating, listening to nature sounds or sleep music will help to create a bridge between wakefulness and sleep.
- Avoid napping during the day
Although napping may lift your mood and leave you feeling more refreshed in the short term, if you are struggling with sleep avoiding naps during the day will help improve your quality of sleep at night time.
- Exercise daily
Studies show that having a regular exercise regime helps quality of sleep. Vigorous exercise in the morning is best but any exercise at all will help.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening
Though having a glass of wine may make you feel drowsy initially, consumption of alcohol impacts your quality of sleep throughout the night. Likewise, you should avoid eating heavy meals too close to bedtime as you will be kept awake whilst your body digests the food. Caffeinated beverages and cigarettes should also be avoided.
- Use bed only for sleep and sex
Avoiding work materials, televisions and computers in the sleeping environment will help to strengthen the association between sleep and bed. A tactic to use if you are struggling to sleep is to go to another room and engage in a relaxing activity before returning to bed and resuming sleep. This will help to break the association of bed with anxiety and frustration.
- Unplug an hour before bed
This is an important one and one that you have probably heard a million times. It is important to keep screen time to a minimum before bed not only because the light from the screens disrupt your body clock but the use of games, emails and videos all play a part in keeping your mind active at night making it difficult to fall asleep. Try and keep electronic devices out of the bedroom, particularly when trying to sleep.
- Evaluate your room
Ensuring the room is dark, cool and comfortable will be conducive to a good night’s sleep. Ensure your room is free of unpleasant noises or distraction and make sure that you are comfortable with a comfy, supportive mattress. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, earplugs or “white noise” machines such as fans or humidifiers.
- Wind down
Reading a book or meditating can help calm your mind and put you in a relaxed mood. It can be helpful to write down all your worries in a journal if you are feeling anxious to help clear your mind for a better night’s sleep.
- See a sleep professional
If you are still struggling, do not hesitate to speak to a doctor or sleep professional. Keeping a sleep journal can help identify sleeping habits or issues that could be impacting your sleep.
Headspace (2020). Sleep Hygiene Tips. Retrieved from https://www.headspace.com/sleep/sleep-hygiene
Healthy Sleep (2007). Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep. Retrieved from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips
Sleep Foundation (2020). Healthy Sleep Tips. Retrieved form https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/healthy-sleep-tips
Sleep Health Foundation (2011). Ten Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/tips-for-a-good-night-s-sleep.html Tang, M. F., Liou, T. H., & Lin, C. C. (2010). Improving sleep quality for cancer patients: benefits of a home-based exercise intervention. Supportive care in cancer, 18(10), 1329-1339.
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