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Stress has a habit of catching up with us in the early hours of the morning. All you want to do is sleep, but you cannot stop your mind from trying to solve all your problems at once. Sleep deprivation is known to lead to illness and depression, so what can you do to make sure you get a decent night's sleep?
Your bedroom needs to be a haven of calm, with room temperature, lighting, and quality of mattress being the main areas to address. Maybe a new bed or simply a better mattress would help. So apart from ensuring your mattress and pillows are suitable, what else can you do on a daily basis to reduce stress levels and improve your ability to sleep through the night? Have a look at the problems and potential solutions below.
Problem 1: Connection To The Internet
This is definitely a problem that was not experienced even a decade ago! Many people start with a quick check of social media, surf the internet, or do some work before they go to bed, but this is known to activate parts of the brain that may disturb sleep patterns.
Solution: Plan your pre-bedtime routine in advance, disconnecting from the internet at least an hour before you go to bed. This includes switching off mobile phones, tablets and laptops so that you are not even tempted to check your emails and texts. This can be quite liberating once you get used to the idea, and is certainly better for your physical and mental health.
Problem 2: Going to bed too early and sleeping in late
If you are feeling stressed and tired there is a temptation to go to bed too early, but even if you go to sleep straight away, you may wake up early and not be able to drop off again.
Solution: Adopt a regular routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, even at weekends. This should regulate your body clock and allow you to relax more, with fewer worries about being able to go to sleep. Your body begins to expect sleep at certain times once in a routine such as this.
Problem 3: Drinking too much caffeine before bedtime
Caffeine is a stimulant considered to hinder and disturb the ability to sleep. If drunk within a few hours before going to bed, it is likely to make sleep more difficult.
Solution: Choose a caffeine-free tea or coffee if you like a hot drink before bedtime. Milk-based drinks are also known for their soporific effects. These will allow your body to relax without having to deprive yourself of your favourite drink. The same applies to fizzy cola drinks, so buy the caffeine-free versions for drinking in the evenings. Avoid ‘energy’ drinks like the plague as they are basically packed full of both sugar and caffeine.
The Guardian sets out some more tips for getting a good night's sleep, including balancing your diet and the benefits of taking regular exercise.