Keep a regular sleep schedule:
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (the circadian rhythm) is one of the best strategies for achieving a good night’s rest. If you have a regular schedule, you will feel more refreshed and energised than sleeping the same number of hours at different times.
Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when your normally feel tired so that you don’t toss and turn. If you want to change your bed time, make the change in small daily increments of 15 minutes so that your body can adjust.
Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need to wake up at a certain time, you might need to set an earlier bedtime. You can use this sleep calculator to help work this out.
Be smart about napping. Napping can help recharge, but it can also make insomnia worse. Be aware of these issues.
Fight drowsiness. If you feel drowsy after eating, get up and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep (e.g. washing the dishes).
Naturally regulate your sleep wake cycle:
Melatonin is a hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your circadian rhythms. Your brain should secrete more in the evening, when it’s dark to make you sleepy. You can use this to your advantage.
If you struggle to wake up, go outside and let light fall onto your face. Spend more time outside during daylight, and let as much light into your workspace as possible.
Boost your melatonin production at night by turning off your television and computer. If you like having noise to fall asleep to, trying music or the radio instead as they don’t emit light. Don’t real from a backlit device, such as tablets. Change your bright bulbs, and use low wattage ones instead.
Have a relaxing bed time routine:
Keep noise down, and keep your room cool. Make sure that your bed is comfortable. You should have enough room to stretch comfortably. Reserve your bed for sleeping (and sex). If you do anything else in the bed, it can become associated with work, and it will be harder to go to sleep.
Eat well and get regular exercise:
Stay away from big meals at night. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up.
Avoid alcohol before bed. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep, but it’s counterintuitive. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.
Cut down on caffeine and avoid drinking too many liquids to stop bathroom breaks.
Regular exercise can also help you sleep more deeply. Even as little as 20-30 m,inutes of daily activity can help.
Get anxiety and stress in check:
Relaxation is beneficial for everyone, but especially for those struggling with sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques before bed can help wind down and calm the mind. These are some examples:
- Deep breathing
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Visualisting a
peaceful, restful place.
Here are some resources to help with relaxation:
- This website lets you travel along a 3D line you move the line with your cursor).
- You can make your own galaxies here.
- Pixel thoughts
- This one translates the time into a colour.