Microsoft word - suggestions for a good night's sleep.doc
IMPROVING YOUR SLEEP
The following practical steps may help you to get to sleep more easily.
DAYTIME ROUTINES AND ACTIVITIES:
Consider keeping a diary for a few weeks to record your activities
during the day and evening and how you sleep afterwards - you may
notice patterns or identify factors that help or hinder a good night’s
Regular exercise promotes sleep, especially out in the fresh air – for
example, walking or some gardening. But avoid vigorous exercise in
the evening, as it can raise your temperature, which may delay sleep.
EATING, DRINKING AND SMOKING:
Cut out caffeine in coffee, tea or fizzy drinks – choose caffeine-free
Camomile tea is a traditional remedy for inducing sleep, and is readily
available at health shops and supermarkets.
Don’t drink too much of any liquid before bedtime – getting up to use
Avoid smoking during the evening, as nicotine is a stimulant
Avoid relying on alcohol, as this can impair the quality of your sleep
Eat your evening meal at least 4 hours before you go to bed, to avoid
indigestion or feeling uncomfortably full
DURING THE EVENING:
Avoid doing anything too mentally stimulating during the evening
(e.g. work, watching action movies, playing computer games,
competitive activities) – instead, enjoy gentle pursuits that help you
Switch off the television / computer at least an hour before you plan
Before going to bed, write down a list of any worries on your mind, or
things you need to do. This can reassure you that it’s ok to leave
those thoughts aside for a while as you sleep.
Your body clock may function better if you ensure your bedroom is
properly dark. Consider using black-out blinds or curtains, to cut out
unwanted light from street lamps. Or for a cheaper option, try
wearing an eye-mask, available from larger chemists.
Keeping your bedroom comfortably cool (between 16 and 18 degrees
centigrade) may allow your body to relax more quickly.
Some people find the scent of lavender oil helps to relax them at
night – dab a few drops of oil on a tissue near your pillow, or try a
GOING TO BED:
Go to bed and get up at roughly the same time on weekdays and at
weekends, to establish and maintain good sleep habits.
Establish a regular bedtime routine that helps your mind to associate
particular actions with going to bed to rest.
Have a warm bath to help relax your body – your mind may well
DURING THE NIGHT
If you find it hard to ‘switch off’ your thoughts at bedtime, have a pen
and paper near the bed to 'empty' your thoughts onto. Even if you
can't read it the next morning the process of putting that thought on
If noise disturbs you – perhaps from neighbours, traffic, passers-by,
or your partner’s snoring – consider trying ear-plugs. Or try masking
the sound with ‘white noise’ from a fan or by setting your radio
Alternatively, you may like to relax to some gentle music or a
hypnotherapy CD designed to help you to sleep. There are lots
available via the internet, and many allow you to listen to excerpts
If you are restless in bed, get up for a short while, move to another
room, and do something restful such as reading (nothing too
exciting!), a jigsaw, knitting, or listening to music. Return to bed
Remember: sometimes, the harder we feel we have to try to sleep,
the harder it seems to become. Instead, make your aim simply to
relax your body comfortably in bed – concentrating on resting your
body may encourage your mind to follow suit.
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