In an ideal world, we spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping, getting a solid eight hours every night and waking up the next morning, refreshed and ready to meeting with life’s ups and downs. However, whether everybody needs the same amount or not, the fact is many of us have trouble sleeping.

While the results of insomnia can be different according to the individual, they are rarely good. A regular lack of sleep can cause memory impairment, confusion, weight gain, stress and also reduce the efficiency of the immune system. All of these can affect self-esteem and the ability to cope, which is hardly helpful when it comes to thinking positive.

In fact, it’s very easy to end up in a downward spiral: you find it difficult to sleep – you have less energy – you feel less positive – life’s challenges feel insurmountable – you become stressed – therefore you find it difficult to sleep – and so on… What you need is an upward spiral instead.

So what to do? Sleeping pills and herbal remedies can offer a short-term solution, but they rarely provide good, deep sleep and over time, you will build up a tolerance to them. With this in mind, here are 13 tips to help you sleep and so keep your think positive attitude.

  • Stick to a schedule to help your body to set its own internal rhythm so you can get up at the time you want, consistently, every single day. Try to keep the same schedule on weekends too, otherwise the next morning, you’d wake later and feel overly tired.
  • Sleep only at night. Avoid daytime sleep if possible. Daytime naps steal hours from night-time slumber. Limit daytime sleep to 20-minute power naps.
  • Exercise helps you sleep better. Your body uses the sleep period to rest the muscles and joints that have been exercised. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon and not just before bedtime.
  • Taking a hot shower or bath before bed helps bring on sleep because they can relax tense muscles.
  • Avoid eating just before bed. Give yourself at least 2 hours from when you eat to when you sleep. This allows for digestion to happen (or at least start) well before you go to sleep so your body can rest well during the night.
  • Avoid caffeine. It keeps you awake; we all know that.
  • Read a story. A book can take you to a whole new world – you may find as you read more and more, you become more tired at night and so find it easier to fall asleep.
  • Have the room slightly cool. Turn off the heat and allow the coolness to circulate in and out of the windows. If you get cold, wear warmer clothes.
  • Sleep in silence.
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It’s a depressant and although it may make it easier to fall asleep, it causes you to wake up during the night. As alcohol is digested it can cause night-time awakenings and even nightmares for some people.
  • Have at least a 2-hour break from your computer before trying to get to sleep and DO NOT use the computer if you wake up during the night as the stimulation from the screen will make it almost impossible for you to get back to sleep.
  • Keep a notepad and pen beside the bed and quickly note any nagging thoughts that wake you up and then let them go knowing you can’t forget about them tomorrow.
  • Invest in a hypnotherapy sleep tape to introduce you to techniques to help you sleep well and consistently.
  • It’s time to make a good night’s sleep part of your everyday reality!