5 Tips To Improve Your Sleep

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Trouble Sleeping? Tips To Help You Sleep Better

BY DR SARAH HUGHES

Are you getting enough sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep?

The amount of sleep someone needs varies from person to person. Most people need between 7 to 8½ hours sleep, but some people function well on less sleep than this, and others need more than the recommended 8.5 hours sleep per night.  

If you feel tired and lethargic through the day then you’re probably not getting enough sleep, but a good night;s sleep not as impossible as it seems.

Here are 5 Tips to get your sleep sorted.

Tip #1: Establish a Sleep Routine

Having a bedtime routine works for adults as well as kids. Get yourself into a routine before bed – something along the lines of dinner, television (or something relaxes), shower, bed – and try to go to bed and wake at roughly the same time each day. If you do this even on weekends and irrespective of how much sleep you’ve managed to get the night before it will help to regulate your circadian rhythms which will improve your sleep. At first you’ll feel tired and lethargic (sort of like jet lag) and it will be tempting to “catch up” on sleep during the day, but napping in the day will maintain your sleep problems so try to avoid it if you can.

Tip #2: Avoid Stimulants and Alcohol

Avoid caffeinated drinks and nicotine after 3pm and consider limiting your overall daily intake of stimulants as well because they can contribute to sleep problems. Alcohol can interfere with sleep as well so try not to use alcohol to help you get to sleep. Alcohol disrupts sleep and can cause you to feel tired in the morning.

Tip #3: Change Your Sleep Environment

Make your bedroom environment conducive to sleep – make sure the room isn’t too warm or too cool, and make sure your room is dark enough. Most importantly, get rid of your clock. Clock checking throughout the night will only increases your agitation, it won’t help you get to sleep.

Tip #4: Modify Your Expectations

Worrying about not sleeping will stop you from sleeping. Not getting as much sleep as usual won’t physically harm you. You may feel tired the next day, but you can trust that your body will ensure you get enough sleep to function properly.

Tip #5: Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Try to be most active in the mornings and wind down in the latter part of the day. If you’ve always exercised in the evenings try exercising earlier in the day and see if this makes a difference to your sleep.

Make sure you have time to unwind before bed. Turn off your computer and phone and find ways to switch your head off at night. For example, make a to-do list for the next day before you go to bed so you don’t have to mentally rehearse all the things you need to do the next day. If you’re feeling stressed about something problem solve and come up with a solution before bed so the problem doesn’t keep you awake.

Dr. Sarah Hughes is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Think Clinical Psychologists. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and challenging behaviour.