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By Bing Pilates, Dec 20 2016 10:13PM

We looked at how to improve your morning routine recently. So it's only fair to the moon and stars that we look at ways to improve your bedtime routine to give yourself the best chance of having a cosy night's sleep. In fact Joseph Pilates himself wrote in a book advice on how to sleep better, so let's start there...

1) Environment — your room should be cool, quiet, well ventilated, and dark. Your mattress should be firm and your pillow not too bulky. Also, don't use too heavy a cover — use the lightest cover possible to make you warm. Thanks, Joseph.

2) Reduce blue light — exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but at night it has the opposite effect. This is due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. Blue light, which comes from things like mobile phones, TV and laptops is the worst in this regard. Try not looking at any of these at least an hour before you sleep.

3) Give up caffeine — not forever! Just late in the day. The stimulation of your nervous system from drinking it may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. If you're really desperate for the beans at night, try a decaffeinated coffee instead.

4) Give up booze — again, not for all eternity! Just not in the evening. You may think that it helps you nod off better, but it will disturb your sleep pattern once it wears off.

5) Make sleep a priority — don't banish the land of nod to something you *groan* "have to do". Embrace it and get a schedule going so that you are in bed and ready to sleep at the same time each night (as much as possible). Without regular good sleep, you'll be half the person you are. Or zombified at best.

6) Don't sleep with work — leave all traces of your daily work outside of the bedroom. This ties in with the previous blue light tip. Don't lie in bed with your laptop doing work late at night— it might only serve to stress you out and bed is your place of peace and harmony. Remember, work is not your life and has no place in your bedroom.

7) Eat light in the evening — a heavy meal too late on in the evening won't help you drift off when bedtime comes a-knocking. Try to finish eating big meals at least two to three hours before hopping into bed.

Until next time, readers...zzzzzzzzzzz......


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