Even if you do not suffer from insomnia, there are probably times when you do not sleep well. If you feel that you could be getting better quality sleep, then these tips should help.
- Only go to bed when you are tired. You will not sleep well if you spend hours tossing and turning because you are trying to force yourself to sleep!
- If you find that you cannot sleep after twenty minutes in bed, get up and do something quiet and relaxing, until you feel tired, and then try again.
- Always stick to a regular sleep cycle – even on weekends. Sleeping late may feel good, but it will not help you sleep well for the rest of the week!
- Do not exercise within four hours of your regular bedtime. Exercise can help you sleep well if it’s done earlier in the day, but if you leave it too late, your brain will be to ‘awake’ when it’s time to go to sleep. Better still, save your workouts for the morning, when being wide awake is a good thing!
- Use sleep rituals to give your brain a cue that it is time to sleep. Try reading, or listening to soft music every night, and it will become a part of your daily routine, signalling your brain that it is time to sleep.
- Avoid working, watching television or anything else in your bedroom. It should be a restful environment.
- Take a warm bath an hour and a half before bed. It may be an old trick to sleep well, but it is actually the drop in body temperature that makes you sleepy, so timing is everything.
- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine for four hours before bedtime, but consider having a glass or warm milk, or a slice of turkey, before bedtime. Both of those contain tryptophan, which is a chemical that helps you sleep.
If you are following all of these tips, and you find that you still do not sleep well, then it may be time to speak to your doctor. There could be an underlying condition, ranging from anxiety or depression to sleep apnea, that is causing your sleep troubles, and you may need further treatment.