This information is designed to help people to adopt a healthier lifestyle through taking some simple steps. It includes why changes should be made and the support available to help achieve it. Here we are looking at the importance of sleep.

Problems with sleep that last a long time (chronic) can have a negative impact on our health, lifestyle, motivation and aspirations. It can also cause stress and anxiety.

Here are a few simple tips to help:

Create a routine - aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekends.

Exercise is good for sleep - but try not to do vigorous exercise about

two hours before you go to bed. Gentle stretching is fine and will encourage your body and mind to wind down

Get outside as much as possible - fresh air and natural light can help with circadian rhythm, our natural body clock

Sleep loves the quiet and the dark - avoid using your phone and

watching TV in the bedroom as the light interferes with our REM (deeper) sleep

Avoid screen time the hour before you try to go to sleep as it can delay your sleepiness as it suppresses your melatonin levels

Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine - these may seem to help you in the first instance but the effects wear off which will wake you

Eat healthily - avoid a heavy meal just before bed. Fatty and sugary foods boost our energy and can cause indigestion which will keep you awake

Need a wee? - reduce the amount of liquid you drink about two hours before bed

If you do wake up in the middle of the night, try some simple mindfulness techniques like this one:

All you have to do is be still and focus on your breath for just one minute.

Start by breathing in and out slowly. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly in and out of your body.

As we sleep we lay down new memories so think about all the good things that have happened in the day and drift off….

See Also:

NHS Webpage for sleep