Routine is important – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Stick to the routine, even if you don’t sleep well for one night and are tired the next day. Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep – just not too close to bedtime.
Be careful what you eat and drink before bedtime – spicy and fatty foods can cause heartburn, which can prevent falling asleep. Food and drink containing tyramine causes the release of a brain stimulant, norepinephrine, which can keep you awake. Cheese, nuts and red wine all contain tyramine.
Too much alcohol often makes a person restless and increases the likelihood of needing to urinate during the night. Alcohol can also make you snore – restricting airflow into the lungs and disturbing sleep.
Caffeine – usually taken in the form of coffee – is a stimulant and can stay in the body’s system for many hours. For a late night snack, eat things heavy in carbohydrate, such as cereal or bread, which can help to trigger the hormone serotonin, which causes us to feel tired.
One of the most important – but often overlooked – things you can do is to make sure that your bedroom is relaxing. Try to avoid having a stereo, TV or computer in your bedroom, which can be distracting. Finally, choose a mattress carefully – you will be spending approximately a third of your life sleeping on it.