Sleep restores the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems. It maintains mood, memory and cognitive function. Cortisol, one of the stress hormones, is produced through lack of sleep,
Things you can do to improve your sleep
- Our body clock likes routine. Go to sleep and get up around the same time every day.
- Make time for sleep. Most of us need between 7-9 hours each night.
- Keep active. One hour of moderate activity each day, ideally outdoors, improves deep sleep.
- Create a daily exercise routine. It can be as simple as walking or gardening.
- Engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, quizzes, playing an instrument, or connecting with friends.
- Make your bedroom a pleasant place to be. Create a calm, relaxing bedtime routine.
- Avoid taking your worries to bed. Set aside time to write or draw, taking note of any concerns or stressors. Make a commitment to leave those concerns out of your sleep time.
- Take care of your body, eat well, and avoid snacking in bed.
- Take a shower or bath, or read before bedtime to wind down.
- Lie in a comfortable bed in a dark, well-ventilated, quiet and cool place.
Things that can make sleep difficult
- Worrying about not sleeping is one of the most common causes of not sleeping.
- Napping during the day and sleeping-in can disrupt healthy sleep patterns.
- Artificial light – brightly lit TV, computer or phone screens are stimulating.
- Excessive noise. Use earplugs or try covering noise with soft music.
- Consuming stimulants such as alcohol, chocolate, sugar, or nicotine. Heavy meals can also interfere with sleep quality.
- Caffeine – don’t drink coffee, black or green tea, or energy drinks before bedtime.
- Avoid electrical devices in your bedroom.
- Dim lights two hours before sleeping and avoid blue-light emitting screens, such as smartphones or laptops. If you need to use them, switch first into “night mode”.
- Keep bed for sleep and relaxing, and not for daytime activities.
- Do relaxing movements, such as breathing and stretching, before bed.
- Open windows regularly and let fresh air into your bedroom for at least 15 minutes every day.
- Adjust bedding – add warmer layers in winter and cooler, thinner coverings in summer.
- Listen to music that’s calming.
- Avoid watching the clock or counting sheep, as this can keep you awake.
- If you find yourself unable to sleep, get up and do something quietly in low light levels until you feel sleepy again.
- Seek professional help if your nighttime sleep is fragmented over a longer period of time.