There are many factors that can interfere with attaining a good night’s sleep; from the stress of work or family to what you ate for dinner. These simple steps will help you achieve a full-rounded nights sleep.

1. Have a regular sleep schedule

Go to bed at the same time each evening and get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. Having a strong consistency helps your body create a healthy sleep-wake cycle, leading to a better sleep each night. If you can’t sleep, try not to become anxious or annoyed and try to force yourself to sleep. The more anxious you become, the less likely you are to fall asleep, which will probably lead you to become more anxious. If this happens it’s better to get back up and do something calming for a around 30 mins and then try again.

2. Create a pre-sleep routine

Having a relaxing bedtime ritual helps your body wind down from your busy day. Find a relaxing technique to use before you get into bed. This may be meditation, reading a book, or listening to soothing music.  Try to avoid using your computer an hour before bedtime and always turn your phone off or on aeroplane setting to avoid the one last Facebook check. Turn your home WIFI off before heading to bed. Your bed is for sleeping, so its best to avoid having television and other distractions in your room as this interferes with your sleep, its better not to sleep with your TV on. This can confuse your body clock to understand when is entertainment time and when is sleep time. This is also the same as staying in bed when you’re wide awake.

3. Include exercise in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can promote a better night’s sleep. Exercise is best done in the daytime and not too late in the evening or before bedtime. Exercising too late in the evening may make it harder for your body to slow down and relax before sleep.

4. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed either hungry or too full, this discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.

5. Avoid Nicotine, Caffeine and Alcohol

Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine should be avoided, particularly in the evening. Alcohol may help you get to sleep, but it will decrease the quality of your sleep. Nicotine and Caffeine (tea, coffee and soft drinks) have stimulating effects and take hours to wear off, so that can lead to a more difficult time getting to sleep as well as the quality of your sleep.

6. Create a comfortable environment to sleep in

Ensure your bedroom is what you feel is perfect for sleeping. Most people feel the most comfortable is a room that is cool, dark and quiet. Your room should have comfortable bedding as well as good temperature control. A good mattress and pillow will also help to get a better night’s sleep.

7. Avoid daytime naps

Having daytime naps will make it much harder to sleep well at night, especially if you suffer from insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you absolutely feel its necessary for a nap then try to limit it to around thirty minutes, preferably in the middle of the day or make sure that you are awake for more than 4 hours before going back to bed.  If you do work night shifts, then you will have to make an exception to the rules. If this is the case, try to keep your windows closed of all sunlight so your body doesn’t get confused with a daytime nap and a good night’s sleep.

8. Stress management

Many people get a sleepless night due to high stress levels during the day. Try to manage your stress levels otherwise your sleep is likely to suffer also. Simple changes such as being more organised, setting priorities, delegating tasks, taking a break and letting go of your worries can help to restore calm and peace in your life. If you have a lot on your mind before bed, write your thoughts down and then leave them there until tomorrow.

Contact your Doctor

Insomnia affects as many as 1 in 3 people, and almost anyone can do with a more restful sleep. Adults should aim to have approximately 8 hours of sleep, although most people will occasionally have a sleepless night. If you are continuously having problems sleeping, contact your doctor. Your doctor will be able to identify and treat any underlying causes and can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

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