I know sleep is a big problem for many people. You may feel you are sleeping a lot of hours but not being refreshed. In that case it could be that the quality of your sleep is poor. These tips will help in either case.

As this a big topic, I’m splitting it in to things you can eat/take to help sleep (tomorrow!) but first and most importantly is how to improve your sleep routine:

1. Turn off your TV/computer/smartphone an hour before you go to bed. Electrical appliances stimulate the brain and won’t aid sleep. Reading is also too stimulating. Who hasn’t decided to read just one last chapter of their book before bed and found themselves still engrossed at 2 a.m.

2. Try and get into a bedtime routine, like when you were a child. Take at least 30 minutes to wind down. You can listen to relaxing music and use the time to take stock of your day. Don’t use the time to do chores or watch TV dramas.

3. Take a hot bath. A night’s sleep is normally preceded by a drop in body temperature. When you have a comfortably hot bath, artificially raising your body temperature, when you go back into your cooler bedroom it helps the body be more receptive to adjusting its body temperature.

4. Psychologically, if you spend all night wide awake and tossing and turning in your bed, you can think negatively of your bed. So for 20 minutes try to get to sleep and if you can’t, get up, and read something relaxing or do something sedentary until you can. In the same way, the bedroom should only be used for bedroom activities, and not for watching TV or eating, to create a more relaxed sleep-inducing atmosphere.

5. If you have a digital clock in your room, I’m afraid you’re going to have to turn it off, as well as your phone. Both release electromagnetic waves into the room that can interrupt sleep. Consider turning your Wi-Fi off too for the same reason. Along a similar vein, make sure your room is as dark and quiet as possible. Invest in an eye mask and earplugs if needed.

6. Try to sleep the same amount of hours every night and go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time, even at weekends, if possible. This allows your body to know when to secrete your hormones and make repairs, and doesn’t confuse it with too many late nights. By going to bed at 11 p.m. one night and 3 a.m. the next, it can induce a mini ‘jet lag’ where our body becomes out of sync. This means we cannot get into Stage Four deep sleep, and this can affect our energy, mental performance and judgement the next day.

It may sound boring, but getting into a routine with your sleep is a great way to regain your vitality.

MY ADVICE

Get clear on what your current sleep routine is. Is there a way of improving it? Which of the above tips can you easily integrate into your life?