Bedtime routines for a good night’s sleep

Stress, money worries, emotional/mental health problems, illness or just an over-active mind can all lead to sleeplessness. Often, the effects are temporary, lasting only until the cause is resolved, but in some people, sleeplessness can become habitual – this is known as insomnia.

In the short-term, lack of sleep can affect your ability to concentrate and make decisions, and can make you feel tired and irritable. It is also a known trigger of migraines.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, it could be down to your bedtime routine. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, adults can improve their chances of getting a good night’s sleep by sticking to a few simple dos and don’ts before going to bed:

* Create the right sleeping environment – ensure that your bedroom is quiet and a comfortable temperature, and that your mattress is supportive, not too hard or too soft.

* Exercise early – getting some exercise during the day is beneficial when it comes to promoting sleep, but avoid exercising later than early evening, as this can disturb your sleep and be counterproductive.

* Avoid alcohol – while it might help you to drop off initially, it can interfere with your sleep later, and you might find yourself feeling restless or waking throughout the night.

* Avoid caffeine and other stimulants including slimming tablets, and don’t drink caffeinated drinks after mid-afternoon, as their effects can linger.

* Stick to the same sleep times every day – don’t go to bed too late and don’t be tempted to lie in if you have a bad night’s sleep or at weekends.

* If anything is troubling you or you have a lot of tasks to remember, write them down so that you don’t need to keep going over them in your head while trying to get to sleep.

* Take some time to relax before going to bed.

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