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With the short light summer nights,. I do not want to resort to sleeping pills. What can I do to help myself? Jacky Williams Leicester
Dear Jackie – would it help to say you’re not alone? Many of us have sleeping problems. Adults, on average need 8 hours sleep a night, but around 1 in 10 people in the UK suffer from insomnia and resort to sleeping tablets. Sleeping pills can provide a short term solution but for permanent solutions create a sleep friendly environment by making the bedroom a calm and tranquil space. Open the bedroom window a couple of hours before bedtime to keep it cool. Light has a huge impact on sleep patterns, so keep the bedroom dark and you’ll sleep better. Block light from windows with heavy curtains and cover up electrical items. You could even try a sleep mask to cover your eyes.
Set your body clock by going to bed when you feel tired at a regular time even at weekends, so that you don’t toss and turn. Steer clear of alcohol before bed that nightcap may make you fall asleep faster but alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up during the night. Have a glass of milk; dairy products are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps increase the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals, serotonin and melatonin. Avoid heavy, rich foods and vigorous exercise within two-hours of bed time.