How to get a good night sleep

- What overpowers you without hurting you?
- Sleep

(A joke)

by Elia Strange

If you read my other articles carefully:

How sleep deprivation affects our health

Do I have a sleep disorder

then you can see that your sleep problem may seriously affect your health.

Here you can read the latest recommendations on how to get a good night's sleep from professional organisations and researchers (3,4,6,8).

Of course, some of them were repeating themselves, so I organised them all for you in a way that it was easy to follow. Hope you'll find them useful and effective.

How to get a good night sleep:

Stimulus Reduction

- Reduce noise and light in the bedroom (use blinds, heavy curtains, and ear plugs if needed)

- Adjust the right temperature for the room

- Make sure that the mattress and the pillows are comfortable

- Avoid watching TV in bed and do not use computer prior to bedtime (as they stimulate the brains activity)

- Do not pay bills or play games before bedtime (as they stimulate the mind further)

- Do not consume alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco before bedtime (some people may be stimulated by caffeine for up to 12 hours, and alcohol often results in highly interrupted sleep)

- Do not eat spicy food or too much food before bedtime (refined sugar and processed foods may disturb the sleep process)

- Avoid watching the clock to see how long you were lying awake for (to avoid getting worried over the non-sleeping time)

- If you cannot stop thinking about your problems, write them down and leave them till morning

- Do not use your bedroom for anything other than sleep and sex (e.g. do not watch TV, make phone calls, eat or work, especially when you are in bed)


- Practice relaxing during the day and before bedtime (for example, through focusing on your breathing or by engaging in meditation activity)

- Listen to relaxing music before bedtime

- Take a warm bath or a shower (because as the body cools down, it also relaxes, so make sure that you get into a warm bed straight after the bath or the shower)

- Avoid taking naps during the day so you feel tired before bedtime

- Engage in some physical activity during the day or early evening (at least 4 hours before the bedtime), so you are physically tired before going to bed

- Work in the garden or take up some relaxing hobby (e.g. arts and crafts)

- Try aromatherapy as an aid for sleep

- If you are awake and cannot fall back to sleep, get up for 15 min or so, listen to music or read a book. These activities may make you feel tired enough to go back to bed. Even if you do not feel like going to bed, return to bed after 15-20 min, close your eyes and try to relax.

Health Sleep Routines

- Try to establish a sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day

- Start getting ready for bed 2-3 hours before bedtime

- Do not overdo making yourself fall asleep as this may be counterproductive

The Royal College of Psychiatrists also recommends that if you wake up at night and cannot get back to sleep, make sure that:

a) You wake up at the same time as usual, even if you have to use an alarm,

b) Do not nap during the day and don’t go to bed too early. Go at your usual time.

Follow these professional recommendations and have a much better sleep from now on!

Other articles you might like:

Are memory foam mattresses worth it?

How to reduce stress instantly

Do I have a sleep disorder

What happens to me when I don't sleep enough?

Why am I sleeping too much?

How well can you cope with stress? (Test)

... or go to:

Article Archives

Archives - 2

Home Page (Coping with Stress)

'How to get a good night sleep' References:

1 – Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011) Sleep and Sleep Disorders.

2 - Mail Online. (2011). Sleep-deprived Britain: Two thirds of us suffer from debilitating insomnia, 28 January 2011.

3 - Mental Health Foundation. (2011). Sleep matters: The impact of sleep on health and wellbeing. London: Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

4 - RCPsych. (2011). Sleeping well. Royal College of Psychiatrists, June 2011.

5 - American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2008). Insomnia in parents can result in sleep problems, suicidal behaviour among their offspring. - NHS. (2011). Insomnia. National Health Service Web site:

7 - Sleep Disorders Centre. (2011). Common adult sleep problems/disorders. University of Maryland Medical Centre (UMMC): Sleep Disorders Centre.

8 - Carter, P. A., & Clark, A. P. (2005). Assessing and treating sleep problems in family caregivers of intensive care unit patients. Critical Care Nurse, 25 (1), 17-26.

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