In general practice it is not uncommon to see patients with sleep issues – either issues falling asleep due to a racing mind or people who wake frequently at night and have trouble falling back asleep as they start thinking. Below are 5 key strategies to implore to improve sleep quality; these are often prescribed in general practice!

  1. Strictly no screens in the 1 hour before bed. No TV/iPAD/phone use at all – the blue light exposure when you watch screens reduces the melatonin production in the brain and melatonin is the hormone that helps with sleep!

 

  1. Reduce caffeine consumption in the day (aiming for 1 or 2 caffeinated drinks only per day). If you are having troubles falling asleep try avoiding any caffeine after midday.

 

  1. Some form of exercise in sunlight during the day can help night time sleep as it helps regulate circadian rhythms. Even a 30-minute walk at lunch time may help you sleep better at night!

 

  1. Try and keep to a regular bed time and wake time – this helps the brain get used to when it should be resting!

 

  1. Routine is key – every night in the hour before bed try and do a regular bedtime routine so your brain is trained to know it is time to wind down. For some patients this might include a warm bath or shower, reading a book in dim light or doing mindful colouring or crosswords. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it, and ensure that routine does not include screen time!
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