1) Changing your sleeping environment
Your physical surroundings can have a profound impact upon your sleep. To enhance your sleep you should create an ambience which will help you to relax and prepare your mind and body for the night. Our top tips include:
- Choose dark window dressing. Buy black out curtains or blinds if possible.
- Move electrical goods - Alarm clocks, radios and other electrical items give off electrical current to which some people are sensitive. If you need to have electrical goods make sure that the cable doesn't run underneath or behind the bed.
- Remove the television. Action packed TV can be too noisy and stimulating.
- Change your nightwear. Cotton is generally considered the best nightwear as it helps to regulate the body's temperature. In cold weather the head and feet are the parts to lose most heat.
- Change your bedding. Give consideration to using multiple layers of bedding which enable you to more easily control the temperature. Remember clean sheets can also help to relax and prepare for sleep.
- Avoid positioning mirrors that face the bed. Movement reflected in a mirror can subconsciously raise sleepers
- Air the room regularly
2) Develop Bedtime Rituals
A simple routine will subconsciously help your body to prepare for sleep, this may include:
- Prepare for tomorrow
- Take a warm bath
- Lower the lights before bedtime
- Allow adequate time to relax before bed
- Leave symbols of worry out of the bedroom
3) Consider meditation or mind exercises.
Psychology has shown that mental exercise can help to clear the mind of any fears or anxieties:
- Practice deep breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
4) Change your diet
Food and medicine can alter the balance of chemicals in your body, which can impact upon how wakeful or drowsy you feel
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes
- Try vitamin supplements
- Try herbal teas
- Increases your water intake - generally recommended minimum 2 litres per day
Exercise helps to burn off excess energy and take your mind off the stresses and strains of modern day life. Aerobic exercise is an effective way of helping to make you tired enough to switch off. As you exercise you also release endorphins, which help you, feel good, ease pain and can help to reduce any worries to a more manageable level. You should do some form of aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes every day or for 45 minutes three times a week.
6) Experiment with natural sleeping aids
The following are simple aids, which are readily available.
- Pillow - consider different sorts of pillows and shaped pillows, which will support your head
- Essential oils - try a couple drops of essential oil on a tissue placed in a pillow
7) Make Changes to your Lifestyle
If sleep problems persist you may consider lifestyle changes.
- Change your working hours
- Manage your time more effectively
- Be realistic about deadlines
- Get help and delegate tasks if possible
- Operate a clean desk policy