Not getting enough sleep? Try cutting out these 5 things, to wake refreshed and rested

Drink 

Unsurprisingly, drinking anything that contains caffeine will make it a lot harder to get to sleep. As bedtime approaches, say no to coffee, tea and cola, and check the ingredients of other fizzy drinks.

It's true that alcohol may make you fall asleep more quickly, but it's also true that it's likely to wake you up again a short while later. This is because alcohol, when consumed in more than moderate amounts, can cause excessive sweating, headaches and even nightmares.

More generally, you should aim to reduce your fluid intake as the night wears on, in order to avoid being woken by a need to visit the bathroom. 

Read more: What is insomnia?
 

 

Food 

Avoiding an excess of high-fat foods isn't just a must for people who want to eat healthily; the likes of burgers and chips are known to upset sleep cycles as well as your scales.

Trying to sleep with a full tummy can be difficult because you're feeling uncomfortable, so don't eat a heavy meal less than four hours before bedtime. Heartburn is another cause of discomfort that can keep you awake, so give spicy food a miss late in the evening. 

Protein stimulates brain activity; so don't pick foods that are rich in it for a late night snack. Many people don't realise that chocolate contains caffeine, and the higher the cocoa content the higher the caffeine content. 

Read more: 10 Things you didn't know about maintaining a healthy diet

 

Cigarettes 

Cigarettes are bad for your health in many ways, but they have a particular impact on your ability to sleep because nicotine is a stimulant. Smoking just before bed, or as a misguided way to relax when you find you can't sleep, is going to have the opposite affect to the one you intend.

Smokers also have the added problem of sometimes waking up during the night because their bodies are suffering from nicotine withdrawal. 

Read more: Break the habit: Smoking cigarettes
 

Exercise 

While it's been proven that regular aerobic exercise can help regulate your sleep pattern, the key to success is all in the timing. Make sure you leave a gap of at least three hours between a workout and bed or your body will still be in active mode when your head hits the pillow. 
 

Your bedroom 

Don't overheat your bedroom. Most people will find that temperatures any higher than 24°C will be too stuffy for a restful sleep. Don't turn your bedroom into an extension of your office. It should be a place that you associate with rest and sleep, not work. 

Try not to watch TV, use your computer or play with your phone for an hour before bed. All of these screens emit blue light, which can keep you awake. 

If problems with sleeping persist then you should seek advice from your GP in order to rule out any medical causes.

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Read more: Why healthy in the bedroom is great for the planet

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