About a third of us have sleep difficulties occasionally, but for some people insomnia can be a chronic problem which lasts for months or even years. If you need a bit of help getting off at night, follow some of these tips to help you get a better nights sleep.
1; Instead of counting sheep, count peacocks, giraffes, or emus!
2; Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning.
3; Sleep on a good, firm mattress.
4; Lie on your back and gently rub your stomach in a circular motion. Gradually let the circles get bigger and bigger.
5; Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
6; Start at one, two, or five hundred, and count backwards down to one.
7; Try to recall a poem that you used to know off by heart when you were at school.
8; Think of a boy and girl’s name starting with each letter of the alphabet. For example; Albert and Alice, Bryan and Betty, or Carl and Camilla. See how far you can go.
9; Listen to a recording of crashing waves, dolphin sounds, heartbeats, or raindrops.
10; Don’t have tea, chocolate or cola in the evening.
11; Imagine walking through a lush valley. Hear the birdsong, smell the trees and visualise the beauty of the countryside.
12; Sleep in a well ventilated room.
13; Don’t have the temperature of your room too hot, or too cold.
14; Sleep on your back, as this enables your internal organs to rest.
15; Do not fall to sleep on your front, as this results in shallow breathing and causes pressure on your internal organs.
16; Drink warm milk ten to twenty minutes before retiring.
17; Stretch your body. Point your toes, arch your back and stretch your arms above your head, then relax completely.
18; Try to recite the National Anthem in your head.
19; Make a long list of words in your head by changing just one letter at a time, for example; part, past, post, most, mast, etc.
20; Have a drink of herbal tea before retiring to bed. Some health food stores sell blends which are designed to aid restful sleep.
21; Fifteen minutes of exercise a day will supply your body with the activity and oxygen it needs to relax at bedtime.
22; Make a list of everything that is bothering you and therefore keeping you awake. Imagine yourself writing the list onto a piece of paper and then screwing it up and throwing it away.
23; Try to settle yourself by repeating soothing words to yourself, such as calm, peaceful, relaxing.
24; Imagine you are sewing the hem of an extremely wide curtain. Use tiny stitches and visualise in detail every stitch you make.
25; Try to get your partner to give you a relaxing massage just before bed, or while you are both in bed.
26; Make love.
27; If your partner is in bed with you, listen to his breath and try to synchronise your breathing with his.
28; Go back to a special time and place in your mind. Relive the sights, smells and feelings you felt at the time.
29; Avoid naps during the daytime.
30; Take a warm soothing bubble bath, or use bath salts or aromatherapy oils in the water to help you relax before bed.
31; Try to keep your bedroom as dark as possible by hanging thick lined curtains if possible.
32; Imagine you are on the beach. Feel the hot sun on your body, smell the salt water and feel the warm, granular sand under your feet and between your toes.
33; Avoid illuminated bedside clocks. A lit clock face can be extremely disturbing if you have a hard time getting to sleep.
34; Practice slow, deep breathing for five minutes.
35; Sleep with your head facing north. Sounds bizarre? Try it and see if it makes a difference for you.
36; Imagine you are decorating your dream house. What colour scheme would you use? What style of furnishings and decoration would you prefer? See each colour and pattern in detail.
37; Keep your bed a place for sleep. Don’t read, watch television, work, or do crossword puzzles in bed. Let your body and mind associate bed with sleep.
38; Think of as many famous people as you can with double initials, for example; Anthony Andrews, Tina Turner, Bobby Brown.
39; If you really can’t sleep, get up. Don’t lie awake for more than thirty minutes. Read a book, have a drink, and when you feel tired again, go back to bed.
40; Lie on your back and try to relax. Wiggle your toes up and down, both feet at the same time, 20. This should relax your whole body.
41; Listen to soft and soothing music. Classical or folk music is particularly good for dropping off to.
42; Imagine it’s morning and time to get up. The alarm has already gone off, and you are in that sleepy period when you just want to drop back off to sleep for a few more minutes. It’s surprising how sleepy you will start to feel.
43; Think back on everything you did throughout the day, from getting up, having breakfast, going to work, right through to getting ready for bed and lying where you are now.
44; Try to remember what you were doing this time last year.
45; An hour before you go to bed, light an oil burner with some lavender oil in.
46; Mentally visit the town you were born in. Think back to how the streets looked, and imagine where you used to play, or the places you used to visit.
47; Repeat to yourself ‘I am getting sleepy, I am growing tired, I am falling to sleep.’
48; If you are a fan of soap operas, replay some of the scenes in your mind, with yourself as one of the characters.
49; Stare with your eyes closed at the insides of your eyelids.
50; Build a two letter word into the biggest word you can make. For example; on, one, lone, alone.