It’s one of the most searched for terms on the internet. And it’s a question that most people ask at some point in their lives. How To Sleep is, according to the latest Google zeitgeist list, the sixth most commonly asked ‘How To’ question.Compiled from the millions of searches made through Google each year, the zeitgeist list – meaning spirit of the times – provides an annual insight into what matters to us most.
Tens of thousands of those searching the internet for help with their sleep find their way each month to the UKs number one source of free help and advice on sleep at www.sleepcouncil.org.uk. Established nearly 17 years ago, The Sleep Council offers a wealth of information about how to get a good night’s sleep with common sense tips and advice.
Said spokesperson Jessica Alexander: “Sleep affects us all and lack of it is one of the most common health issues of our times. An unlucky few will need expert medical advice to solve the problem but for most people, simply following our common sense tips and hints for a good night’s sleep will make all the difference.”
These are The Sleep Council’s top 10 tips for a great night’s sleep:
- Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better. Choose a time when you are most likely to feel sleepy.
- Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old.
- Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close too bedtime or it may keep you awake!
- Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee – especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
- Don’t over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
- Don’t smoke. Yes, it’s bad for sleep, too: smokers take longer to fall asleep, wake more often and often experience more sleep disruption.
- Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga – all help to relax both the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation tape, too.
- Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day.
- If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – then go back to bed.