10 things you can do to get a better night's sleep

Long-term sleeplessness can shorten your life expectancy.

Long-term sleeplessness can shorten your life expectancy.

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We all know that plenty of sleep is good for us, and we can’t survive without it, yet an estimated 21 million people in the UK may not be getting enough.

While some effects of sleep deprivation appear obvious - the dark circles, irritable mood and difficulty concentrating to name a few - long-term sleep deprivation can have more serious consequences.

Sleep is important for our health in numerous ways, including immunity, emotional and psychological wellbeing, and it even plays a role in obesity and weight gain.

Worryingly, long-term sleep deprivation has also been linked to a reduction in life expectancy.

If you’re struggling with poor sleep, these lifestyle changes may be able to help;

1. Always get up at the same time - even at the weekend.

It might seem like you need a lie in to make up for the sleep you haven’t got, but to break a cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.

2. Avoid catnaps during the day.

It’ll only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.

3. Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks.

Alcohol and caffeine can both disrupt sleep. If you’re having trouble cutting out caffeine, avoid having it the afternoons and evenings and try gradually reducing your intake.

4. Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles.

Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.

5. Exercise during the day.

Exercising at night will actually make you more awake and you’ll find it harder to get to sleep.

6. Get to bed at the same time every night.

It’ll help your body prepare itself for sleep.

7. Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.

No smart phones!

8. Alleviate your worries.

Try writing them down before you go to bed

9. Traditional herbal remedies.

Valerian root has been used for centuries due to its natural sedative effect. This soothing ingredient is found in Kalms Night tablets.

10. Don’t lie there frustrated.

If you can’t sleep, get up and do something (non-strenuous) for a while.

* If you try to address your sleeping problems but your symptoms persist beyond 3-4 weeks, you should consult a doctor.