How often do you have trouble getting to sleep at night? Poor sleep can cause more than just tiredness – stress, heart problems and diabetes can also be results. If you want to improve your sleep quality and, therefore, health, follow our flowchart and solve how to get a better night’s sleep.
A lot can be achieved by cutting out bad habits, but, if you don’t know the difference between good and bad habits before bedtime, this flowchart below will identify them and suggest some quick-fix solutions.
Remember: Some disorders have no quick fixes. You should always contact your GP if you are having prolonged sleep problems.
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How to get a better night’s sleep
Stress, heart disease and diabetes – the cost of regular poor sleep goes beyond simply feeling tired in the morning. Follow our chart to help you discover some quick-fix solutions to your bad sleeping habits.
Keep tech out of the bedroom
Exposure to blue light-emitting devices such as smartphones, tablets, TVs and laptops results in a delay in melatonin production – the sleep-inducing hormone.
– Remove televisions, laptops and other electronic devices from the bedroom
– Have a cut off point for using technology in the evening
Fix your snoring situation
Snoring can be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.
– Lose weight, cut down on alcohol and sleep on your side
– If you think you might have OSA, consult your GP
Stop drinking before bed
Although alcohol may help you fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, it actually reduces rapid eye movement sleep (REM), the period of sleep seen to be the most restorative.
– If you’re drinking alcohol, wait an hour per unit consumed before sleeping
– Try drinking a glass of warm milk or herbal tea instead
Get yourself a new mattress
Soreness, aches and back pain are keeping you awake – this is likely to be because your mattress is not providing the support your body needs.
– Look for a supportive rather than a hard bed
– A properly cushioned medium-firm bed is usually best
Change your bedtime diet
Studies have shown that eating certain foods before bed can negatively impact your sleep quality.
– Eat a carbohydrate-rich snack an hour before bed
– Try foods rich in tryptophan, such as yogurt, milk, oats, bananas, poultry, eggs, peanuts and tuna.
Improve your sleep hygiene
By trying to catch up on sleep, you push the circadian rhythm – the body’s internal clock –further out of sync.
– Stick to regimented sleeping and waking-up times
– Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night
From weight loss to improved mental wellbeing, the benefits of sleep cannot be overstated. Remember – some sleep disorders have no quick-fix solution, so if you’re having problems, always consult your GP.
We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments box below about the bad habits that stop you from sleeping. Have you tried any of these solutions? Did they work for you?
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Other Sleep Mistakes
If you’re interested in what other sleep mistakes are causing you or a relative problems, check out ‘7 Sleep Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making.’