STOPS AND STARTS
Simple changes can be very effective in improving your quality of rest. Although these tips might seem like common sense, it’s amazing how many people are inadvertently sabotaging their sleep.
STOP Going to bed hungry.
START Timing your evening meal so that you finish eating at least two hours before bedtime. It’s important not to be hungry at bedtime, but having a full stomach can also make it difficult to sleep. A light snack at bedtime can improve sleep.
STOP Watching TV in bed.
START Removing all distractions like televisions, computers, radios or phones. This will make a big difference to your sleep quality. Also cover any clocks to avoid clock-watching before you drop off to sleep or if you wake up in the middle of the night.
STOP Going to bed at different times.
START Trying to go to bed at the same time each night. Your body clock works best if there is a regular sleep routine. By ignoring your sleep signals and staying up, you miss the window of opportunity for sleep. Going to bed too early can also disturb your sleep; simply going to bed later might be the single most effective thing you can do.
STOP Bad bedtime habits.
START Doing things in the hour before going to bed that will create a relaxing sleep routine. Taking a warm bath, reading quietly or enjoying a warm milk drink are all good options. Avoid any stimulating activities in the hour before bed, such as exercise, computer games, television and having important discussions as these will make it harder for you to quiet your mind.
START Taking steps to give up. Call Quitline on 0800 778 778 to start the process. Your health suffers when you smoke but it also has an impact on your sleep because nicotine is a stimulant.
STOP Drinking coffee or eating chocolate late at night.
START Having your last caffeine hit at least four hours before bed. This includes coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
STOP Drinking alcohol at least four hours before bed.
START Having your last drink at least four hours before bed. Alcohol might help you get to sleep, but it will lead to a restless sleep and can make you feel hotter overnight. It also exacerbates problems like snoring and sleep apnoea.