Five Top Tips for Better Sleep

The quality of our sleep impacts on every area of our life, our health, well-being, our general demeanour and enthusiasm for life. Recent studies have revealed a link between poor quality sleep and health conditions like prostate cancer and breast cancer. Clearly we need to pay serious attention to ensuring that we have the best night's sleep we can as often as is possible.

Here are five top tips for better sleep:

- A regular routine is important. Obviously there are times when our schedule runs amok; we may have to work late, are travelling overnight or are enjoying a late night out with friends, but in the main try to follow a fairly regular routine so that your body gets used to going to sleep at a similar time each night.

- Manage stress. Stress is a major factor in most of our lives. Balancing the demands of work, family, friends, having concerns about security and finances feature in many people's lives. Learning to prioritize effectively, delegate, share concerns, communicate how we're feeling can all go some way to establishing better balance and support strategies in our lives.

- Switch off at a certain time each night. Research suggests that stopping stressful exertion approximately two hours before bed is an important way to let your body and mind wind down. So switch off the computer, decide to have that deep and meaningful conversation with your partner another time, start to listen to pleasant music, have a relaxing bath or shower so that you really commit to switching off and becoming sleepy.

- Ensure that your bedroom is a proper bedroom. Invest in a comfortable mattress, keep it well-ventilated, have pleasing, comfortable decor. So many people treat their bedroom as part office, part storage area. Clear out the clutter, try to screen off any work space, keep electrical appliances to a minimum. Try to maintain an atmosphere of peace, quiet and calm in your bedroom. It is meant to be a haven for you to retreat to for intimacy and/or sleep.

- Exercise is an important commitment to better sleep. If you have a demanding mental job try to introduce balance by undertaking physical activity. A regular evening walk while dinner is cooking can introduce pleasant, gentle exercise into your life. If you have a job that requires physical exertion try to engage in regular mental activity, like quizzes, puzzles, crosswords. Ensure that there is a balance between the physical and mental effort in your life.

A little forward planning can ensure that sleep and bedtime becomes a less stressful and more pleasant time of the day. How many times have we said 'I'll sleep on it' and found that the next day a problem area has unexpectedly become resolved in our minds? Allowing sleep to be a time when our bodies heal, renew, detoxify and our minds relax and reassess the concerns of the day is providing us with the opportunity to appreciate the relevance of quality sleep in our lives.


Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

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