10 tips on how to improve your quality of sleep

Having trouble sleeping? When you are not sleeping properly this can wreak havoc with the rest of your life. You become more easily irritated, your concentration is impaired and you maybe dragging yourself through your day.

Sleeplessness can have numerous causes, your lifestyle, social or working environment, your diet, the room in which you sleep, the bed on which you sleep, etc. I personally am a very light sleeper, the slightest disturbance and I’m awake, whether it be one of my children that has woken in the night or a loud noise in the street. Also any issues that may be bothering me, then my sleeping pattern is the first thing that is disturbed.

So what can you do to help you have a restful nights sleep?

Here below are a number of tips that will help improve the quality of your sleep. Of course, based on your lifestyle not all tips may be practical or welcome for that matter. However, if sleeping is a problem for you then it is certainly worth trying.

Eat your last meal at least 4 to 6 hours before going to bed. If you are like most people eating a hot meal in the evening is the norm. If this is the case eating early gives your body sufficient time to digest and therefore will improve your chances of sleeping better. Especially if it is a heavy meal with a mix of proteins & carbohydrates such as a meal with cheese, meat & potatoes. Your body will need something like 6 hours to properly digest it. A healthier alternative is to eat lighter meals in the evening and your heavier meal during the daytime.

Avoid stimulants that interfere with sleep. Alcohol (alcohol may help some people go to sleep, but can interfere with sleep later in the night), sugar, caffeine (coffee, black tea, green tea, chocolate, cola), and nicotine are all stimulants that interfere with sleep. By avoiding or reducing their intake 4 to 6 hours, before sleeping, can help enormously.

Don’t drink too much before sleeping. I’m a bit of a herbal tea lover and have learnt the hard way, drinking too much, too close to my bedtime. By stopping at least an hour before sleeping you reduce the chance of waking in the middle of the night to go to the toilet.
Prepare your body for rest, such as light stretching, taking a walk (strenuous exercise stimulates the body and can be better done at least 3 hours prior to sleeping), meditation, a warm bath or shower, reading or relaxing music. I always have my shower in the evening, mainly because it saves time in the morning with the added benefit of helping me relax before bed. I also have the luxury of being able to dim the lights in our bathroom which also prepare my body for sleep.

Reduce the amount of artificial light prior to sleeping. TV, computer screens are also a source of artificial light which stimulate to keep you awake. If you stop using them an hour before sleeping this can also help in preparation of sleep.
Use natural light to program your sleeping/waking rhythm. Waking with natural light and exposing yourself to natural light during the day can help program your body’s internal clock.

Keep a regular routine. Sleeping at the same time each night also helps regulate your sleeping patterns. Monday mornings are difficult for most people due to the change in sleeping patterns in the weekend. I was always a lover of sleeping in at the weekend. However, since having kids that luxury was no longer possible. Yet a benefit of not sleeping in, is that my sleeping patterns have become more regular and I have way less issues with getting out of bed in the morning, even on Monday’s.

Listen to your body, which means going to be bed when feeling tired. Of course, if you are over stimulated follow the steps to reduce stimulation first, so that you have a more natural rhythm.

Create a comfortable sleeping environment in your bedroom. Your bedroom needs to be cool, dark and well ventilated. Also your bed and pillow need to be comfortable, providing proper support.

Still having problems. If having tried all of these tips and still no improvement then perhaps it is an idea to seek some professional medical advice. You may have a medical condition, such as, sleep apnea in which sufferers temporarily stop breathing during sleep. In cases where there is no medical condition yet you still have trouble sleeping then perhaps holistic approach can help you. I have helped numerous people improve their quality of sleep, particularly people suffering from restless legs syndroom. Please feel free to contact me for further information.