It is one of our most basic functions, as important as the in and out of our breath. Our need for sleep is primal, yet the pace of life means it's often pushed to the periphery, sacrificed at the altar of work, friends, study and fun.
Sleep at the same time each night
Use bed only for sleeping and sex
Avoid napping so that you are tired at bedtime. If you do nap, less than 1 hour and before 3pm is better.
Tried sleeping and failed?
Get up and do something relaxing for 5 min
Don't turn on any bright lights (bright light tells your brain to wake up)
Avoid doing things that are too stimulating
Don't consume caffeine or nicotine for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed.
Don't exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime
A healthy diet is important, Hunger before sleep can be distracting. A light snack can help. However, a heavy meal can also interrupt sleep.
You can develop your own sleeping rituals to remind your body of sleep
E.g. relaxing stretches or breathing exercise (15 minutes before bed)
Sleepiness is associated with a drip in body temperature
Have a hot bath 1-2 hours before bed will raise body temperature. As it drops your body will become sleepy.
Watching the clock can make you worry about not sleeping, which makes it more difficult to sleep.
The right space
A quiet, ventilated and comfortable room is important. It is better to have a cooler room with enough warm blankets. Curtains, eye masks and ear plugs can also help.
How our Body Clock influences our Sleep
Our body clock plays an important role in helping us to maintain healthy sleep patterns. The more we allow our body to follow our natural sleep/ wake cycle the easier it is for us to fall asleep and feel rested upon waking. Have a look at this informative article to gain a better sense of what is happening in our bodies and with our sleep during various stages of the night. While you are there, do the quiz to find out if you are a night owl or lark!