Yoga, stretching, taï chi and walking are all relaxing activities conducive to sleeping well. Swimming - when undertaken as a leisure activity - is also a good option and swimming outdoors can be even more effective at promoting sleep because of the additional fresh air.
1/ Prioritise gentle activity
ActionSpend 30 minutes a day doing relaxing activities and avoid cardio-exercises (running, tennis, workouts …) after 7 pm as they encourage the production of hormones that keep you alert and raise your body temperature (to sleep well, your body temperature should go down).
Certain plants and herbs are acknowledged for their ability to help us get to sleep, and to promote good quality sleep (relieving stress and anxiety in some cases). Among them are valerian, camomile, hops, passion flower, hawthorn, lime and verbena, all of which combat sleep problems.
2/ Put your faith in sleep-inducing plants
ActionIngest these plants and herbs regularly in the form of tisanes, infusions, capsules, tablets or homoeopathic granules.
When your eyes sting, and you can’t stop yawning, your body is sending you signals you shouldn’t ignore. This is the time to go to bed. If you wait, you’ll miss this phase of drowsiness and could initiate a new cycle of wakefulness.
3/ Recognise when you’re getting sleepy
ActionTreat the evening as a time to prepare for sleep, and treat the bedroom simply as a room in which to sleep (no television, no screens, and no computers). Don’t plan any activity or work that could prevent you from going to bed at the first signs of tiredness.
If you nap for too long, or too late in the day, it can be counter-productive as your biorhythms can be disrupted.
4/ Limit any afternoon naps
ActionTake short naps only (no more than 20 minutes), setting an alarm, and do not sleep any later than early afternoon.
Relaxation, light therapy (exposure to white light with 10,000 lux) and behavioural therapies are all methods that can produce significant benefits.
5/ Try therapies known to work
ActionTry (or combine) several methods if necessary, but be aware that whatever method/s you choose will only work if you also adopt a healthy lifestyle and follow the other advice given here.
8 hours? 10 hours? Early riser or night owl? Sleep is a very personal issue and the most important thing is to recognise and respect your own sleep requirements.
6/ Know your sleep requirements
ActionForget about the alarm clock during the holidays and go to bed at the first signs of tiredness. After a few days, your natural sleep will automatically establish itself and you will know your sleep ‘profile’. If you only need 7 hours to feel in top form, there’s no point in sleeping longer.
Tea, coffee, energy drinks and alcohol are all to be avoided in the interests of a good night’s sleep. They not only make it harder to fall asleep, but they also have a rebound effect, causing insomnia and waking in the night.
7/ Avoid stimulants
ActionSwap the tea and coffee for tisanes from mid-afternoon onwards and avoid alcohol in the evening.