Struggling to sleep? Here are five expert tips to improve your sleep health

Olympian Greg Rutherford shares his top tips on sleep

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We all know that getting enough sleep is essential to stay healthy. But despite this, many Brits are falling short of the six to eight hours of sleep they need every night. According to Thriva’s latest research, just 29 percent of us wake up feeling refreshed. Here are five tips from the sleep experts to ensure you get a decent forty winks. 

Maintain a regular sleep pattern

Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day is essential to maintain your body’s sleeping clock.

But the pandemic has disrupted many of our sleep routines.

Dr Roshane Mohidin, a practising GP and behaviour change specialist at Vitality, told “Lots of people are working from home so they’ve lost the structure of having a daily commute and this can mean it’s more tempting to stay up a later and sleep in a bit more.”

But she insists that maintaining a regular routine is essential to “keep the body’s sleeping patterns in sync.”

When this is disrupted, it can make it more challenging for your body to know when you want to go to sleep and so inevitably your sleep quality will decrease.

Avoid lie-ins (even at the weekend)

You may be tempted to lie in to try to catch up on sleep, but sleep expert Stephanie Romiszewski warns this “only perpetuates poor sleep cycles.”

She told “‘Catching up’ [on sleep] at weekends often only perpetuates poor sleep cycles and can lead to insomnia.

“It’s okay to sleep in every now and again, but if you find yourself relying on this behaviour and it forms a pattern.

“When we lie in, it’s difficult for our brains to understand when to make us feel sleepy, as it feels you have had ‘extra’ sleep even if you went to bed later and didn’t have any extra sleep.”

Reduce your screen time before bed

It can be all too tempting to scroll through YouTube videos or social media if you are struggling to sleep, but this will seriously hamper your ability to nod off.

Avoid this temptation by keeping your phone, tablet and laptops outside of your bedroom.

If you keep your phone by your bed to use as your wake up alarm, then ditch this in favour of a digital alarm clock.

Daniel Perez Vidal nutritional expert and co-founder of For the Ageless told that Britons should reduce their exposure to screens one to two hours before they go to bed.

To do this, avoid watching TV or looking at any screens with artificial (including mobiles) during this period.

If you do need to use your phone or tablet within this period, make sure you switch it to the night setting.

This will help to filter out blue light, which can disrupt sleep.

Make sure you sleep in the correct position

Many of us lie awake tossing and turning, trying to find the best position to nod off.

Sleep expert Narwan Amini from told “For an average person, sleeping on your side is generally considered the healthiest sleeping position.”

But he added, sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleeping position.

He warned: “This position can lead to multiple issues such as strained muscles and joints, stiffness, back and neck pain.

“Whilst it can often be difficult to transition away from a sleeping position, you can prevent pain and protect your back by placing a pillow under your hips.”

Avoid certain drinks

It can be all too easy to unwind before bed with a cup of tea, but this has a huge amount of caffeine in it which could disrupt your sleep.

If you can’t fathom going without your nightly cuppa, try to opt for decaffeinated versions of your favourite brew or go for herbal options such as camomile.

Despite the common phrase of a “nightcap” describing a tot of alcohol taken before bed, drinking alcohol can seriously impair your sleep.

Try to avoid alcohol before bed to ensure a good night’s zzzz.

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