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Combating Sleeping Problems

October 27th, 2014 | by Events Staff
Combating Sleeping Problems

How many of you have problems sleeping? Well I do for one especially since retiring from sport.

How you feel during your waking hours hinges greatly on how well you sleep. Similarly, the cure for sleep difficulties is often found in your daily routine. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices can make an enormous difference in helping you stay productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and energetic. If I sleep well I feel I can take on the world.

Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. If you keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up a similar time each day, you will feel much more refreshed and energised than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. This is true even if you alter your sleep schedule by only an hour or two. Consistency is vitally important.

If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. As with your bedtime, try to maintain your regular wake-time even on weekends.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about napping in the day. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and throws you off for days. While taking a nap can be a great way to recharge, especially for older adults, it can make insomnia worse. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating napping. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.

Your daytime eating and exercise habits play a role in how well you sleep. It’s particularly important to watch what you put in your body in the hours leading up to bed time or any time of day in fact.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions eat little and often and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Also be cautious when it comes to spicy or acidic foods in the evening, as they can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep, but it’s counterintuitive. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.

You might be surprised to know also that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake. Smoking also causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep, plus smokers experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.

Exercise also helps with sleep which some people prefer to schedule exercise in the morning or early afternoon as exercising too late in the day can stimulate the body, raising its temperature. Even if you prefer not to exercise vigorously at night, don’t feel glued to the couch, though. Relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.


So my top tips for this week are:

  • Get a regular sleep pattern and be careful how much you nap in the day the day
  • Avoid heavy rich meals, alcohol, smoking and caffeine especially at night
  • Turn off your mobile phone
  • Exercise will help you sleep but avoid vigorous exercise late at night


For more information on healthy eating and exercise contact me at

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