Sleep easy with this pre-bedtime routine

Ana Noia
Senior Clinical Physiologist in Neurophysiology and Sleep at Cromwell Hospital
21 February 2019
Next review due February 2022

For many of us, getting a good quality night’s sleep – and enough of it – can be tricky. We’re often consumed with the stresses and strains of everyday life and find it hard to prioritise sleep over other things. But sleep is really important. We perform better on a good night’s sleep and are more likely to be in a better headspace. But how do you get a good night’s sleep?

We’re often reminded of what we shouldn’t be doing if we want to sleep. Things like: don’t take electronic devices to bed and don’t drink alcohol or caffeine too late in the evening (to name a few). But rather than focusing on the ‘don’ts’, here we look at the ‘dos’. Take a look at the infographic below to find out what you can do to get a good night's sleep.

Click to open a PDF version of Six steps to a sound night's sleep infographic (0.2MB)

An infographic of six steps to a sound night's sleep

Six steps to a sound night's sleep

These steps will help optimise your sleeping environment and provide you with some techniques to relax your body and mind so you can drift off with ease.

1. Think about how much sleep you need

Aiming to get seven to nine hours sleep each night is about the right amount. Work out when you need to be up in the morning, and therefore what time you should go to bed. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (including weekends and free days) to get into a good routine.

2. Dim the lights

Unnatural light in the evening interferes with your body’s ‘sleep hormone’ called melatonin. Reduce the effect lights have on your sleep by dimming all of them in the room at least two hours before you go to bed. This includes phones, tablets and laptops.

3. Set aside time to relax

Stress can affect sleep. Relax before bed to help you to wind down and put aside any stresses from your day. You could try a warm bath or some light reading.

4. Get your sleeping environment just right

Make sure your room is the right temperature for you and control any noise where you can. An eye mask and ear plugs can be a good investment.

5. Make sleep mindful

Get into bed and lie on your back, if this is comfortable for you. Rest your hands on your tummy and take a deep breath in. Feel your tummy rise as you inhale. Breathe in and out for four counts. Repeat 10 times.

6. Actively relax your body

Starting with the muscles in your toes, tense and then relax them. Work your way up your body, tensing and relaxing different muscle groups one after the other until you reach your forehead. Embrace all the tension in your muscles and then the relaxation the release brings to your body.

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Ana Noia
Ana Noia
Senior Clinical Physiologist in Neurophysiology and Sleep at Cromwell Hospital

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