Sleep Well: How To Get A Good Night’s Rest

These days it seems that no matter how much sleep we get, we still feel tired. Some people need a lot of sleep while others only need a little, but the overwhelming impression is that even when people go to bed early, their resting time just isn’t sufficient. Of course, it’s not only how many hours you get but also the quality of your sleep – eight hours of unbroken rest isn’t the same as eight hours spent tossing and turning. If you follow some basic rules, though, you can stand a better chance of feeling refreshed when your alarm goes off every morning.

  1. Reduce screen time

This is something most people struggle with: many of us just can’t put our phones down, even when we’re going to sleep. Humans have a natural sleep-wake cycle and our bodies are designed to be more alert during the daytime than at night when we experience a raised level of melatonin that makes us feel drowsy. Using screens (laptops, phones, tablets), however, impedes our ability to produce melatonin due to the blue light they emit. How to prevent this? Try to keep your bedroom a “screen-free” zone, reduce screen time throughout the day and stop browsing at least half an hour before bed (ideally an hour, but 30 minutes is a good start).

  1. Cut down on caffeine

It’s a well-known fact that too much coffee will keep you awake. If you can’t stay away from coffee then go for decaf, and do your best not to drink it after around 4 pm. The same applies to chocolate and other caffeine-laden drinks like some teas and soft drinks.

  1. And avoid alcohol

But doesn’t alcohol put you to sleep? Unfortunately not – although alcohol is a depressant, the fact that it can make you fall asleep faster is outweighed by its negative effect on the quality of your sleep and ability to achieve REM (rapid eye movement) state. It’s fine to have a nightcap occasionally but don’t become reliant on alcohol as a sleep aid.

  1. Stop the napping habit

Brief naps are ok – but not those heavy, two-hour sessions in the afternoon and evening when you crash after work. Not only does this make it more difficult to sleep at night, but it can throw your internal clock completely out of whack. If you do nap, try to keep it short and at the same time of the day.

  1. Exercise – at the right time

Exercise enhances sleep both by making you physically tired and by boosting melatonin production. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym: going for a short jog or a brisk walk first thing in the morning is sufficient – and also encourages you to wake up. One thing to remember though: don’t exercise just before bed.

The takeaway…

If you struggle with insomnia then sleep can seem like a nightmare, but with behavioral changes, it is possible to get a good night’s sleep and feel less exhausted in your day-to-day activities. Save our playing at for the daytime, put these tips into practice and you’ll feel refreshed instead of frazzled.