10 tips for getting a better night's sleep

by The Listener / 19 January, 2019
Le Sommeil, by Alphonse Eugène Félix LeCadre. Photo/Alamy

Le Sommeil, by Alphonse Eugène Félix LeCadre. Photo/Alamy

RelatedArticlesModule - Tips for a better nights sleep
1. Address health problems. Avoid sleeping pills if you can. Think twice about gimmicks and devices, as sleep should be a natural thing, and you can become dependent on them.

2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even at the weekend. Sleeping in won’t make up for skimping during the week, and you’ll struggle to get up on Monday.

3. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day, but no later than a few hours before bedtime.

4. Avoid caffeine, especially after noon, and nicotine and alcohol before bed. Avoid large meals and drinks at night, which can cause indigestion and night-time urination.

5. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if any medicines you’re taking might delay or disrupt sleep, and if they can be taken at other times.

6. Don’t take naps, which reduce the sleep drive, after 3pm.

7. Relax before bed. Take a hot bath, as the rise, then fall, in body temperature can make you feel sleepy. Reduce lighting, cut your screen time and employ night-mode options, or use apps to reduce the blue light of screens. Have a dark, quiet (blackout curtains, eyemask and ear plugs, perhaps), cool (18°C) bedroom free of gadgets.

8. Get out in natural light each morning for at least half an hour, and keep the lights low before bedtime.

9. Don’t lie in bed awake for more than 20 minutes, or if you’re anxious. Get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.

10. Don’t use the snooze button on your alarm clock. Alarms spike blood pressure and heart rate, and snooze buttons just repeat the shock.

(Adapted from NIH MedlinePlus magazine)

This article was first published in the January 5, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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