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