Sleep is necessary for the recovery of both the brain and the body and one of the most common reasons for disturbed sleep is stress. If you are very wound up, stress mechanisms are triggered and you can find it difficult to relax or achieve a good quality of sleep. If, in addition, you also think about not being able to sleep, you wind up your body even more, which makes you even more tense and stressed about not being able to sleep. Below, we have gathered some advice about what you can do to sleep better.

Caffeine and alcohol. Everybody reacts differently to caffeine, but since caffeine is a stimulant, it can disturb one’s sleep. Our body sees alcohol as a threat to our conscious state and thus tries to “wake us up”. This results in sleep becoming shallower and you waking up during the night or earlier than usual in the morning.

After physical activity, relaxation and winding down come as natural consequence. On the other hand, it takes a little time for your body to wind down so don’t train too intensely 2-3 hours before going to bed. 

Bedtime restriction. According to research, one of the most effective methods for better sleep is “bedtime restriction”. This means that you should only lie on your bed when you intend to sleep. Calculate how many hours you sleep on average during a week; begin with when you want to get up and calculate backwards. The time you arrive at is the time you should go to bed. Try it out for a week and see if the method works for you.

Sleep only at night. Try resting instead of sleeping during the day.

More light during the day. Make it as light as possible when you get up. Turn on lights, pull up blinds. Take a morning walk and/or a walk at lunchtime.

Turn off the lights before going to bed. Try gradually turning off the lights. Don’t sit in front of a computer screen, mobile phone or LED TV late in the evening.

Sleep in a cold room. A lower body temperature is good for sleeping and if the temperature in your bedroom is 15-18°C, you help your body to relax. If you don’t want the bedroom to be too cold, you could try opening a window before going to bed.

Rest before going to bed. Going from being awake to sleep is a gradual process. Try to have a routine where you relax before going to bed. It’s often better to sit up until you feel tired rather that trying to wind down in bed. Set an alarm for one hour before you intend to go to bed and, at the same time, turn off any computer, mobile phone or TV.

Get out of bed if you can’t sleep. If you are finding it difficult to get to sleep, it might be better to get up and leave the bedroom. Sit down and rest for 10-15 minutes. Go back to bed and think: if I sleep, I sleep. Repeat this procedure if necessary. Remove everything associated with being awake or stress from the bedroom. Charge your mobile in the kitchen!


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