Most of us feel better after a good night’s sleep, but with the pressures of modern living and balancing raising families with work life, lots of people find it harder to get the sleep they need.
Many people suffer with sleep disorders and about eighty percent of the population feel they are not getting enough or the right quality of sleep.
What can you do to get better sleep?
So what can we do to get better sleep? Here are some pointers which experts recommend:
- Learn and practice relaxation exercises to help you to go off to sleep more easily
- Work on addressing unmet emotional needs so that there is less to worry about!
- Have regular going to bed and getting times and stick to them
- Cut down on caffeine in the second half of the day
- Avoid watching TV or internet surfing in the two hours before we go to bed
- Avoid using smartphones in bed
Written by Ezra Hewing, Head of Mental Health Education, Suffolk Mind – read in full HERE.
- Make your bedroom a calm space – make sure the light, temperature and the sound level in your room is suitable.
- Check for a physical cause – Pain or illness or other physical issues can disrupt your sleep. Visit your GP to investigate potential problems.
- Turn off electrical screens – TVs, computers and phones all stimulate your brain, making it hard for you to relax
- Talk to your partner – Snoring, preferred side of the bed and other common issues can often be easily resolved.
- Try a breathing technique – In a comfortable position, breath in deeply – then breath out slowly. try to make your our breath longer than your in breath. repeat until relaxed.
- Plan your day – Try to do more worrying tasks at the start of the day so you can relax the rest of the day.
- Notice what you eat and drink – Caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods can disrupt your sleep.
- Keep a sleep diary – This may help you spot a patterns in everyday sleeping habits and give you insights into what might be causing you the problems.
- Try to do some exercise – This will improve your sleep as long as it is not too late in the evening.
- Change your medication – Some of the drugs particularly common for mental health problems can effect your health can effect your sleep. Talk to your GP to discuss alternatives.
- More advice can be found on the Have you found your sleep pattern? Suffolk Mind website
- You could also try the Sleep Council’s 30 Day Better Sleep Plan
- The Sleep Council Nodcasts includes the sounds of birdsong, rain, thunder and lightning, waves and wind to listen to whenever you need a soothing sound to help you off to sleep.
- Public Health England and NHS’s One You have some great tips, tools and advice for if you have trouble sleeping. Click here to the OneYou Sleep Page.
Eating Well to Sleep Well
If you’re stocking up on caffeine to stay awake during the day and having a glass or two of alcohol at night to help you relax, it’s going to be playing havoc with your sleep patterns. Try and avoid caffeine 4-5 hours before bedtime; have a hot milky drink or a herbal tea instead. And cut out the alcohol until you’ve got your sleep patterns under control and then keep within recommended limits.
Certain foods are known to calm the brain and help promote sleep. Avoid eating a big meal and spicy food just before bedtime as it can lead to discomfort and indigestion, but a small snack may be helpful for some. The best bedtime snack is one that contains complex carbohydrates and protein and perhaps some calcium which is why dairy products (yoghurt, milk) are top sleep-inducing foods.
The Pzizz app helps you quickly calm your mind, fall asleep fast, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.
It uses “dreamscapes” a mix of music, voiceovers and sound effects designed using the latest clinical research to help you sleep better at night or take power naps during the day.
Sleepio is an online sleep improvement programme, clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep through the night, and give you more energy during the day.
The programme is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). You will learn cognitive techniques to help tackle the racing mind and behavioural strategies to help reset sleeping patterns naturally, without relying on sleeping pills.
Sleepstation is a 6-week online course for people who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night.
FREE WITH A GP REFERRAL
The course is tailored to your needs, using the information you provide, and gives you access to a team of sleep experts who will offer helpful advice and support throughout.
Advice from The Sleep Council – click here.
Acknowledgement to Suffolk Mind for assisting with the content of this page.