What are some ways to improve your sleep quality?

Date Added: 28/06/2022


Sleep is key for overall health and wellbeing. Poor sleep is linked to a weakened immune system, anxiety, and depression, amongst other physical and mental problems. This is why it's so important to keep a healthy sleep schedule as well as getting good quality of sleep.
Around 1 in 4 adults have trouble getting enough sleep. Most people need 6-8 hours of sleep a night, however, the amount of sleep we need to feel refreshed the next day is as individual as the amount of food we need.

Sleep problems tend to develop over a long period, and it usually takes weeks or months of effort and practice to improve sleep.

The main problems people have with sleep are:

  • Not being able to get to sleep
  • Waking up in the night
  • Having trouble getting back to sleep
  • Waking in the early hours of the morning - this can be a symptom of anxiety and depression

The amount of quality of sleep you get can be affected by many things, including:

  • How comfortable you are
  • Light, sound, and temperature
  • Being hungry or thirsty
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Physical illness or pain
  • Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
  • Drug and alcohol consumption
  • How much exercise you've had during the day

What are some ways to improve your sleep quality?

  • Reset your body clock by waking up at the same time every morning
  • Try not to sleep during the day
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Cut out caffeine and cigarettes (they are stimulants) - or try to avoid them in the evenings
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Do something relaxing before bed - take your time to wind down, take a bath or do a relaxation routine. Try to avoid screens
  • Train yourself to be asleep in bed, rather than awake - if you have been awake lying in bed for more than half an hour, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy
  • Don't let yourself worry about things in bed - write your thoughts down or get up and do something to help you relax
  • Talk about your problems so they don't worry you at night - ask a professional therapist or your drug and alcohol service about counselling
  • Keep a sleep diary and use it to identify things that make you sleep better or those that don't help
  • Be patient - your sleep pattern will get better, but it can take time

Some ways to restore a normal sleep pattern:

  • Get up at a regular time and stick to it even if you haven't had much sleep.
  • Go to bed at a regular time which isn't so early that you are lying awake for hours, but isn't so late that it negatively affects your body clock.
  • Get as much exercise as possible, morning or afternoon is best (exercising just before bed may make getting to sleep harder). Around half an hour is ideal. If this seems like a lot, start with a short walk and work up.


Keeping a Sleep Diary:

Keeping a sleep diary can be helpful to see how best to change your sleep pattern. Keeping this journal over several months can be a useful way of measuring your progress towards a better night's sleep.
What to include in your journal:

  • went to bed
  • went to sleep
  • woke up in the night
  • woke up for the day
  • got out of bed

A sleep diary can also be useful to show your GP or other professional for help with sleep problems.

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