How to improve your sleep
Tips for a good night’s sleep
There are many techniques you can try to help you fall asleep faster and achieve quality sleep.
1. Regular exercise
Being active throughout the day can help tire your body to prepare it for sleep. Although make sure to leave 1-2 hours between vigorous activity and bedtime to allow your body to wind down.
2. Limit naps
Taking naps outside your normal sleep hours can disrupt your sleep routine and make it harder to go to sleep when you need to.
3. Reduce caffeine, alcohol and smoking before bed
Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can keep your body and mind alert up to seven hours after they're consumed. Alcohol may send you off to sleep faster but can cause later disruptions and will affect the quality of sleep you have.
4. Allow yourself to wind down
Give your body and mind a chance to relax. In the 1-2 hours before bed, unwind through a calming activity like reading, watching TV, or having a bath – whatever works for you.
5. Be consistent with your bedtime
Going to bed at a similar time each night reinforces to your body that it's time to wind down.
6. Set a digital curfew
Avoid screens by turning your phone off or on 'do not disturb' at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. Consider leaving your device in another room. Screen light and apps are designed to trigger hormones in your brain that keep you alert.
7. Make your bedroom your sanctuary
Keeping your bedroom quiet, dark and cool will create a healthy sleeping environment.
8. Leave your worries out of the bedroom
If you find you're overthinking things, it may help to write down the thoughts you're experiencing to get them out of your head. Make a time to revisit them the next day so you know they will be dealt with, but not when you’re trying to sleep.
9. Get out of bed if you can’t sleep
If you’ve been trying to sleep for 30 minutes, but don’t feel sleepy, get up and do a relaxing activity. Try to avoid looking at your phone or watching TV. Go back to bed once you’re feeling sleepy again.
Sleep meditation and mindfulness exercises
Sleep meditation, mindfulness and breathing techniques can help you fall asleep faster by calming racing thoughts, letting go of daily stress and easing you into sleep.
The Smiling Mind App offers free sleep meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Download the Smiling Mind App
You can also download breathing and relaxation exercises from our website.
Find breathing and relaxation exercises
Seek professional support
If you are experiencing ongoing trouble getting to, or staying asleep, support from a mental health professional can help. Visiting your GP can be a good place to start, or you can check out the list of mental health professionals on our website.
Find a mental health professional