Set aside 30 min­utes to an hour for an iden­ti­cal pre-sleep rou­tine each night

Country Living (UK) - - Health & Beauty -

for sleep. So if you’re go­ing to bed at 10pm-11pm, set aside 30 min­utes to an hour for the same nightly pre-sleep rou­tine. This may in­volve things such as taking a shower, wash­ing your face and brush­ing your teeth, mois­tur­is­ing your face and climb­ing into bed with a book. Psychologist Su­sanna Halo­nen says, “The more iden­ti­cal you can make every evening, the more you train your body to pre­pare for sleep and the eas­ier it will be to achieve.”

SAY NO TO THE NIGHT­CAP

“Al­co­hol is a stim­u­lant as well as a seda­tive,” says Dr Guy Mead­ows of The Sleep School. “While many peo­ple use it to fall asleep, it is also metabolised so quickly that it can leave the body crav­ing more.” So when we drink al­co­hol close to bed­time, we are more likely to wake up in the early hours, leav­ing us primed for a night-time anx­i­ety at­tack. As a rule of thumb, it takes an hour to process one unit of al­co­hol, so, to be on the safe side, have a last glass of wine at 7pm if you in­tend to go to bed at 10pm.

DON’T CLOCK-WATCH

If you sim­ply can’t get back to sleep be­cause your head is buzzing with worry, don’t look at the clock – you’ll fret even more. “Just get out of bed and go into an­other room for ten min­utes,” Dr Ram­lakhan says. “Leav­ing the en­vi­ron­ment you feel un­com­fort­able in breaks the as­so­ci­a­tion with wor­ries.”

But don’t start check­ing your phone or scrolling through Face­book. Go into the liv­ing room and read a few pages of a light-hearted book un­der a dim light. When you feel calm, re­turn to your bed and turn over your pil­low. “It will feel cooler on your face and cre­ates a sep­a­ra­tion from the last time you were ly­ing there,” Dr Ram­lakhan says.

EN­SURE DIG­I­TAL BLACK­OUT

Don’t look at your phone or tablet for an hour be­fore bed, and then put it out of reach so you won’t be tempted to pick it up in the night. LCD screens emit blue light, which is the same type as sun­light. “Our body clock gets con­fused and starts think­ing it’s day­time again, so it

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