When it comes to sleep, it is not just quantity that matters, but quality. How you feel during your waking hours often affects how well you sleep.
Similarly, the cure for daytime fatigue and sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine and lifestyle choices.
Practising relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep.
Here are six ways to sleep well at night.
1 Make relaxation your goal, not sleep
If you find it hard to fall asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualisation, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Even though it’s not a replacement for sleep, relaxation can still help rejuvenate your body.
2 Limit caffeine and nicotine
You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to 10 to 12 hours after drinking it! Similarly, smoking is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.
3 Say no to late-night television
Not only does the light from a TV suppress melatonin – the hormone that anticipates the daily onset of darkness – but many programmes are stimulating rather than relaxing. Try listening to music or audio books instead.
4 Keep the lights down if you get up during the night
If you need some light to move around safely, try installing a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom or using a small flashlight. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep.
5 Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex
By not working, watching TV, or using your computer in bed, your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep and sex and make it easier to wind down at night.
6 Avoid big meals at night
Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.