The best chance of having a good night sleep is reliant on good "sleep hygiene".
Here are some tips for how you can improve your sleep hygiene:
1. Keep a regular schedule.
2. Begin rituals that help you relax each night before bed.
This can include such things as a warm bath, light snack or a few minutes of reading.
3. Don't go to bed unless you are sleepy.
If you are not sleepy at bedtime, then do something else. Read a book, listen to soft music. Find something relaxing to do, but not stimulating. Winding down for sleep is essential.
4. Try to get rid of or deal with things that make you worry.
Your bed is a place to rest, not a place to worry.
5. If you really feel the need to nap, keep it short (stick to 20 minutes maximum).
6. Don't read, write, eat, watch TV, talk on the phone, or play cards in bed.
7. Avoid excess caffeine particularly in the evening.
I have tried sleep hygiene but I am still struggling to sleep, what else can I try?
Sometimes, following good sleep hygiene just isn't enough. Also, it may be that your sleep is currently so bad that even following one piece of sleep hygiene advice seems just too hard. The key is to keep going. Don't give up on good sleep, once you have found the right system for you, it is very likely that you will be back on track. Not everyone is the same and what works for one person, may not work for you.
Here are some more small extra snippets of useful sleep advice:
-Stop trying too hard. As they say in Poland ...sleep will come to you, you can't go and get it. If you find yourself in bed, trying to get to sleep, get out of bed, do something relaxing like watching a nice film or reading a book and go back to bed when sleepy tired.
-Many individuals who have suffered from insomnia in the past have reported the benefits of going off to somewhere calm and quiet (away from smog and excess ambient lighting) and just learning to sleep again. Your place may be a quiet cabin in Scotland or it may be a tent in West Wales. Give it a try.
-There is ample evidence to suggest that aerobic exercise improves both quality of sleep and reduces the amount of time that it takes to get off to sleep. When you are ready, try going for a short jog (15 minutes a day is perfect). If you don't like jogging try another form of exercise that gets your heart beating faster and speeds up your breathing. This may be swimming or cycling.
-Do you sleep in a double bed with your partner and find that his/her movement or body heat interferes with your sleep? Try copying the Scandinavians. If you go to a hotel in Norway with your partner, it is more than likely that your bed will be a super-king size bed frame with two mattresses inside it, each mattress with its own sheet and quilt. Having this set -up means that you have your own space without being woken up when you partner moves around in his/her sleep.