Several people I’ve met recently tell me they don’t sleep very well. It seems to be a growing problem, with many of us getting by on less sleep than we need and feeling continually exhausted. It’s more important to get a good night’s sleep than you might realise; sleep deprivation doesn’t just make you feel rubbish – it leads to poor mental and physical performance, disrupts your hormones and can even make you put on weight! Of course there are times when disturbed sleep just can’t be helped – like when you’re coping with a new baby or, for some women, going through the menopause – but generally everyone should try to get some quality shut-eye every night. If you find this difficult, here are some tips that might help.
- Eat your main meal early in the evening so your body isn’t still digesting food when you go to bed.
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime – it can linger in your system for up to ten hours!
- Avoid excess alcohol; drinking a lot in the evening can cause a big dip in your blood sugar during the night which could wake you up. Wine is not a good aid to sleep!
- Don’t go straight to bed straight after finishing work. Take some time to let your mind relax before you settle down to sleep.
- Exercising late at night can also make you too alert to go to sleep.
- Try to develop a regular sleep routine, getting up and going to bed at about the same time every day, even at the weekend.
- Go to bed earlier – don’t just veg out in front of the TV or computer until late at night!
- If you have trouble dropping off to sleep have some hot milk before you go to bed (yes, it really does help) and sprinkle some lavender oil onto your pillow.
- If you wake up in the night, don’t lie in bed tossing and turning – that will just make things worse. The best thing is to get up and do something really boring. I know people who’ve had success with ironing or reading instruction manuals! After a while you should start to feel sleepy and can go back to bed.
Hope this helps a bit. Sleep well! xx