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Behavioural Therapy Blog Archive

Sleep more soundly

Date Posted: 25th January, 2016

It is often your daily routine that leaves you feeling fatigued during the day and increases your sleep difficulties at night. There are several ways to help you enjoy a better quality of sleep but it is dependent on your needs as an individual, too. You may require a stricter sleep schedule, better bedtime habits or it may be down to your day-to-day lifestyle choices. In order to discover the root of your sleeping difficulties, you need to work out what the underlying problems behind them actually are.

First things first, you need to understand how much sleep you actually require. Each individual is different and you may not need as much as you think but due to your sleeping difficulties you feel as though you haven't had enough.

Second, by keeping to a regular sleep schedule, you will feel much more alert and rejuvenated during day-to-day routines and activities. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day; this will sync your body into your personal circadian rhythm. Having a consistent sleep schedule is important to achieve a good night's sleep. It will not come straight away; you will need to recognise what suits you best and get into the habit of your new and improved sleep schedule.

Third, you need to ensure you have a relaxing bedtime routine. If you are hotwired, buzzing, angry or distressed, you will struggle to relax and you will not be able to stick to your new sleep schedule. You need to ensure you are relaxed before bedtime to allow yourself to fall asleep more easily. Let the stresses from the day dissipate before going to bed, otherwise you will disturb your sleep routine and your sleep schedule. If you struggle to fall asleep, then you should get out of bed and do something that will help you relax. Maybe you should have a bath, read a book or listen to some music. However, do not do this in bed: you should save your bed for sleep time. By doing this, your body will associate your bed with sleep and you will find it easier to fall asleep if you are consistent with this.

Fourth, do not eat too much before you go to bed but, on the other hand, do not go to bed on an empty stomach. If you are trying to sleep on a full stomach you may have difficulties as digestion slows down while you are asleep, making it difficult to have a decent night's sleep. Try to avoid caffeine and tobacco before you sleep as these are two components that are known to disturb your sleep. Make sure you drink enough water to keep your body hydrated during the night as feeling thirsty will also disturb your sleeping patterns.

Remember, everyone will require different sleeping patterns, schedules and routines - we are all different! Try out some techniques and if they aren't right, try some different ones. You will need to trial and test different strategies to recognise what is best for you. Good luck!