Top tips to improve your sleep

Getting a good night sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing. We encourage our patients to aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep and recognise that for some this can be challenging!

These are some of our helpful tips to allow for an easy transition to sleep:

1. Establish a consistent sleep routine. Aim to get up and go to bed at the same time each day, even on the weekends when possible. Don’t go to bed too early or late. Aim to be asleep between 9.30pm to 10.30pm depending on your waking time.

2. Avoid napping during the day to ensure you are tired enough to sleep through the night. We may recommend a nap if you have adrenal fatigue so please clarify with us if you are unsure.

3. Ensure you have plenty of time outdoors in natural light to encourage a natural circadian rhythm. This will help regulate cortisol and melatonin. In the mornings, open the curtains to allow natural light to enter the room. If you can, go for a short walk at sunrise and sun set.

4. Make your home and bedroom as dark as possible. Use low lit lights or candles after the sun goes down to encourage sleep.

5. Avoid looking at any screens at least two hours before bed. If you have to use a screen download Flux on your computer or purchase these reading glasses to reduce the blue light from your screen and minimise the disturbance to your sleep/wake cycle.

6. Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Monitor the temperature, keep it tidy and as quiet as possible. Keep your bedroom for sleeping only and avoid watching TV or using Facebook in bed.

7. Wear comfortable sleepwear – loose fitting, breathable and non-irritating.

8. Include at least 30 minutes of exercise during the day such as walking, swimming, yoga, or pilates. Avoid vigorous exercise close to sleep time.

9. Avoid eating two hours prior to bed and avoid too many fluids except for a relaxing tea, for example Chamomile.

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10. Foods rich in tryptophan can help with melatonin production (your bodies sleep hormone). Try having some of these foods with dinner; brown rice, turkey, chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, pumpkin seeds and oats.

11. Reduce or eliminate caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, energy drinks) and alcohol especially after lunch. Avoid using alcohol to help you sleep. As alcohol is broken down in your body, it causes you to sleep less deeply and to wake more frequently.

12. Don’t smoke within an hour or two of going to bed as it stimulates your nervous system.

13. Be ready for bed early. For example, after dinner have a shower, get changed for bed and brush your teeth, so when you feel tired or it is time for bed you don’t have anything left to do that might disturb you.

14. Avoid napping on the couch watching TV even if you are exhausted. Stopping this can be instrumental in giving you a better night sleep.

15. Establish a relaxation routine to prepare you for sleep. Start this at least 30 minutes before bed. Do something relaxing such as reading, have a bath, meditate or do some deep breathing to help you wind down and prepare for sleep.

16. Reduce stress. Write down your “to do” list so you don’t have to think about it at night. Incorporate relaxation techniques as above. Seek support. You can talk to us further about strategies and treatment options.

17. If sleep is still difficult, talk to us about some natural therapies that can help.

Om Namo Narayani,

Dr. Fiona