1. Get into a routine – go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
2. Take time to relax – take a warm bath or shower, read a book or listen to soothing music or a meditation recording, have a cup of camomile tea
3. Avoid technology and blue light close to bedtime– we hear it all the time, but it really can help. And if you must use technology in the hour before bed, wear blue-light-reducing glasses.
4. Increase exposure to natural light during the day – this helps to regulate our internal clock and can help with vitamin D production in the spring and summer months when the sun is out.
5. Create a calm, restful sleep environment – keep your bedroom quiet and at a cool temperature between 16° and 18°C, reduce bedroom clutter, install black out blinds and/or curtains, paint the room in restful colours and use lavender oil on your pillow as it has been shown to aid relaxation.
6. Eat foods containing tryptophan in the evening – an amino acid that converts to serotonin and then melatonin, the sleep chemical, in our body. Tryptophan can be found in turkey, chicken, milk (hence warm milk before bedtime), eggs, cheese, salmon, bananas and pumpkin seeds.
7. Avoid spicy food, alcohol and caffeine and don’t eat a large meal within three hours of going to bed. Sugar can also raise blood sugar and act as a stimulant making it difficult to get to sleep.
8. Avoid drinking any fluids late into the evening as this can lead to interrupted sleep if we need to get up for the toilet.
9. Exercise regularly – physical activity during the day supports sleep during the night.
10. Make sure your bed is comfortable and you have the perfect pillow for your size, shape and sleeping position.
11. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
12. If you still can’t sleep, talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have a specific sleep disorder, such as sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome or sleep walking.