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Five top tips to improve your sleep

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·3-min read

Watch: Follow these easy tips to improve your sleep

Do you have Coronasomnia? Regular anxiety-inducing headlines, a change to daily routines and worry about finances could all be contributing to sleepless nights during the pandemic. One study showed that there’s actually been a 37% increase in clinical insomnia so if you find yourself tossing and turning every night, you’re not alone.

Luckily, GP Dr Chris George is on hand to share his top tips on how to optimise your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. He says making sleep a priority is important in times like these.

Read more: Sleep calculator reveals precise time you should go to bed to not feel tired in the morning

“The most important thing is setting up a good routine, making sure that you prioritise your sleep, that you're not staying up too late for work, or to watch TV,” he advises.

“Having a regular bedtime will mean that you get the recommended six to eight hours per day sleep.”

Get up the same time

Bad news… If you want to make sure you sleep well, it sadly means sacrificing those long weekend lie-ins.

“Make sure you wake up the same time each day,” says Dr George.

“Set an alarm for the same time, even on your weekdays and your weekends. It is really important to make sure that your body finds its natural rhythm.”

Getting up at the same time every day will help create good sleep patterns (Image: Getty Images)
Getting up at the same time every day will help create good sleep patterns (Image: Getty Images)

Make naps short and sweet

While a nap can help boost your energy levels, brain power and your mood, the key is to make sure they aren’t too long.

“We're all guilty of an occasional nap, including myself,” admits Dr George. “Make sure that if you do that, the naps aren't longer than about 20 to 40 minutes.”

Get a proper bedtime routine

Most children follow a familiar bedtime routine every night – perhaps a bath followed by a story – and it’s for a good reason. Irregular routines can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and possible heart disease.

While the odd day off schedule won’t hurt, Dr George says following a night-time routine 30 minutes before bed can be really beneficial.

Read more: What your sleep talking really means

“Try your best to unwind - you can do this by reading a book meditation, or even having a bath,” recommends Dr George.

He also advises avoiding exposure to blue light from your phone or TV and dimming any other lights prior to going to bed.

“Bright lights can inhibit the body's production of melatonin, which helps regulate sleep,” says the GP.

Creating a good bedtime routine will help you sleep better advises Dr Chris George (Image: Getty Images)
Creating a good bedtime routine will help you sleep better advises Dr Chris George (Image: Getty Images)

Optimise your bedroom environment

It’s time to create a sleep haven! This means looking at the temperature, ensuring it’s dark and also investing in a good quality mattress.

Dr George also says blackout blinds can help with sleep issues, especially during the summer months.

Read more: Why you should never sleep with the heating on

He says: “Over the summer months, the sun will come out much earlier, so invest in some good quality blackout blinds or curtains to minimise disruption from sunshine.”

Ditch the booze

Many people assume that a glass or two of wine will help get them to sleep, however, it actually has the opposite effect.

“Alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep,” says Gr George. “Even just one unit of alcohol at night, such as a glass of wine or a beer, can actually make you feel very tired and lethargic the following day.”

Caffeine is also best avoided from late afternoon onwards so step away from the tea and coffee or choose a decaffeinated variety. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can impair your ability to fall asleep.

Watch: Top tips to boost your mental health