Whether you struggle to get a great night’s sleep due to waking up in the middle of the night, simply can’t get to sleep or have a child who won’t sleep; don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve compiled a list of 100 top tips to help you get a great night’s sleep looking at everything from the way your bedding can contribute through to ways to ensure your newborn isn’t the reason you’re not sleeping.
1. Give your pillow a health check – a worn out pillow could be the cause of a restless night. Find out how to test your pillow in this Sleepy People blog post.
2. Use a mattress topper – if your mattress is showing signs of age, give it a new lease of life and comfort with a mattress topper.
3. Use clean sheets – there’s no feeling quite like clean sheets, especially after a soak in the bath. Make sure you change your bedding frequently.
4. Use lavender oil on your pillow – a drop or two of lavender oil on the non-sleeping side of your pillow case can help you relax and drift off to sleep.
5. Make your bed look inviting – treating your bed to a make-over with new sheets, duvet covers and pillows will make it look welcoming and make you look forward to getting in.
6. Check your duvet’s Tog rating – if you’re not sleeping under the right Tog rating duvet for the right time of year, you could well be either too hot or too cold. 4.5 in summer, 9 – 10.5 in autumn and spring and 13.5 – 15 in winter.
7. Keep warm under a blanket – if you’re too warm under your duvet during the summer months or need extra in winter, a blanket is your answer!
8. Declutter your bedroom – if your bedroom has become a cluttered or worse a dumping ground for other items, you will stop associating it with a place to sleep.
9. Move your bed away from the door – we humans have developed a fight or flight instinct as we have evolved. Being able to spot danger early and move away from it makes us feel safe. Positioning our bed this way will subconsciously make us feel safer.
10. Keep the bed for sleep only – don’t use your bedroom for a hangout den or for a games room. Your body will stop associating your bed with sleep if you do so.
11. Invest in black-out blinds or curtains – these will help make the room as dark as possible when you get to bed.
12. Sleep with earplugs in – these can help to block out any background noise which could be keeping you awake.
13. Get some exercise – as well as being great for our legs, bums and tums, exercise is the natural way to make ourselves tired and ready for sleep.
14. Take care of medical problems – health concerns and toothache can be a cause of insomnia. Visit your doctor or dentist and put your mind at rest.
15. Rule out sleep conditions – if you’re concerned that nothing can help you get a great night’s sleep, visit your doctor to rule out conditions such as sleep apnoea.
16. Stimulate the Shen Men – Using your thumb and forefinger, rub the top of your ear where you’ll find an obvious hollow in the area closer to your face, stimulating a sleep-sensitive acupressure point in the ear called the Shen Men.
17. Avoid eating late in the evening – our digestive systems should be inactive when we go to sleep. Eating late may cause painful indigestion.
18. Don’t drink coffee – perhaps this one goes without saying, but try and avoid coffee for at least four hours before your bedtime.
19. Avoid alcohol – you may think that alcohol helps you sleep and indeed you may drop off to sleep faster after a drink, however, your sleep is more likely to be restless and even broken if you need to visit the toilet.
20. Drink a milky drink – a warm drink like Ovaltine or Horlicks can help you unwind and ready for sleep.
21. Eat Cherries – Cherries are amongst a rare group of foods that contain melatonin, the sleep hormone.
22. Munch on peanut butter and celery – do you ever wake up from an 8-hour sleep still feeling terrible? The answer is probably low blood sugars. Eat a celery stick with peanut butter an hour before bedtime. If the thought of that makes you feel ill you could try a banana instead. These slow-burn foods will keep your blood sugars regular.
23. Read a book at bedtime – reading for at least half an hour before bedtime will help you relax and feel sleepy.
24. Wind down as bed time approaches – try and relax for at least one hour before bedtime.
25. Listen to soft music – whilst we recommend that you turn off all electronics, some people find relaxing music soothes them to sleep. Try and avoid music with a fast beat.
26. Have a massage – getting your partner to soothe away the aches and pains of the day is a great way to relax and become sleepy. Massage is also another great way to encourage intimacy with your partner.
27. Try yogic breathing – a meditation technique from Yoga can help you sleep. Close off your right nostril with a little pressure from your thumb. Breathing through your left nostril will help you fall asleep.
28. Get a foot massage – get your partner to massage your feet, this becomes even more effective if they use a massage oil like lavender.
29. Slow your breathing – lowering your breathing rate can help you feel tired, try getting your breathing a rhythm of deep, slow breaths.
30. Develop a sleep routine – routine is important in our bodies. Going to bed at the same time every night can help you achieve a good sleep regularly.
31. Keep a sleep diary – jotting down how much and when you sleep might help you make the connection of what’s stopping you from sleeping.
32. Visit the bathroom – make sure you visit the bathroom before bedtime every night, it might prevent you from waking in the early hours to empty your bladder.
33. Recall Your Day – as you lay waiting to drift off, try and recall every event of your day in the minutest detail. This level of concentration is quite tiring and will hopefully help you nod off.
34. Use a Sleep Calculator – an online sleep calculator can help you work out the best time to go to sleep based on the time you wish to wake. It helps you complete enough full sleep cycles to wake up refreshed – you can find one here http://sleep-calculator.com/
35. Turn off the tech – devices left on standby in your room can make faintly perceptible white noise which may keep you awake. Make sure electrical items are properly turned off at the mains supply.
36. Avoid bright screens – mobile phones, tablets and laptops all emit bright light from their screens. Our bodies will associate this with daylight and being awake. Try not to use these devices before bedtime.
37. Turn the heating down – as we drift off to sleep our body temperature drops by a degree or two. You can help your body do this by turning down the heating.
38. Dim your alarm clock – if your alarm clock is lighting up the room, find the dimmer and turn down the display brightness.
39. Don’t take your phone to bed – The smartphone has become a substitute for the alarm clock. Try not to take your phone to bed – if you must take it to bed ensure it’s on silent so that late arriving emails don’t wake you.
40. Ditch the dog – As much as you love sleeping with your pooch on your bed, it’s a surefire way to have a disturbed night.
41. Don’t anticipate your alarm clock – you may have an important day ahead of you but you’ll have a broken night’s sleep if you try anticipating your alarm. Relax and sleep well.
42. Don’t try too hard – worrying about sleep and trying to force yourself to sleep rarely helps. Try and stay relaxed and you’ll be more likely to achieve sleep.
43. Clear your mind – it’s no use trying to sleep if something is bothering you. Try writing down any unresolved issues – the process of doing so can often help you find a solution or help you feel better about a situation.
44. Try yawning – another evolutionary instinct is to empathise with others, which is partly why we feel tired when we see another person yawn and feel compelled to laugh along with others. Try faking a yawn to bring on tiredness.
45. Try to stay awake – This might sound counter productive but just try telling yourself you won’t sleep and we’re sure you’ll find yourself nodding off in no-time.
46. Tackle Issues in the Morning – The time to deal with issues is in the morning when you are better equipped. Make sure any worries and issues are put to bed long before you are heading to yours.
There’re certain things throughout the day which can contribute to you either sleeping or not sleeping and we thought we’d take a look at ways which you can help yourself to sleep well throughout your entire day:
47. Avoid daytime naps – sleeping during the day may spoil your chances of sleeping well at night.
48. Get outside and enjoy some daylight – spending time outdoors will help your body regulate its circadian rhythms of day and night. It has to be natural daylight, so off outside you go!
49. Do a jigsaw puzzle – this kind of non-stimulating activity in the evening is the perfect way to unwind and prepare yourself for sleep.
50. Avoid nicotine – if you’re a smoker, don’t smoke late in the evening and definitely don’t have a ‘last cigarette’ before bed.
51. Try a craft – knitting or sewing involve high levels of concentration and fine motor skills, so no wonder they are tiring. Try these peaceful activities before bed.
52. Have a bath – having a bath in the evening will not only relax you but raise your temperature by a few degrees, meaning the steeper drop at bedtime is likely to help you get into a deeper sleep.
53. Wear socks – wearing socks can help you stay warm if you have poor circulation. Your partner may appreciate it if you don’t have blocks of ice for feet too.
54. Sleep naked – research shows that sleeping naked may be better for us and help us stay cool – try it out for a few nights.
55. Make love – having sex helps us to relax. If you try the previous tip and sleep naked you might find that you encourage some intimacy with your partner.
56. Roll your eyes upwards – when we fall asleep our eyes roll upwards. Try rolling your eyes upwards three times to simulate this and trigger the release of melatonin.
57. Apply some pressure – try pressing the point between your eyebrows and the top of your nose where there’s a slight indent – it’s one of the points about the body that help stimulate sleep when slight pressure is applied.
58. Count sheep – did we really need to remind you of this one?
59. Try different sleeping positions – if you can’t get to sleep easily enough on your side, why not try on your front or back? If you change sleeping positions each night, so what!
60. Don’t stay in bed if you can’t sleep – lying in bed when you’re unable to sleep can be counterproductive. Get up and try reading until you are tired enough to sleep.
Of course, there’s also some suggestions which are only relevant to some people at certain times, however, we’ve included them all the same:
61. Sleep on your left side – not only will you feel more comfortable in the later stages of pregnancy, this will also help transfer nutrients to your baby across the placenta and also help your kidneys to work more efficiently.
62. To sleep when travelling – sleeping when on the move is never ideal but is sometimes a necessity. Try taking an inflatable neck pillow, an eye mask and some ear plugs.
63. Use a Taggy Blanket – putting your toddler to bed with a taggy blanket gives them something comforting to play with as they go to sleep.
64. Fit bumpers to the cot – bumpers are safe, soft padding that you attach to the cot bars that prevent baby from waking when they roll into them.
65. Try a baby sleeping bag – if your baby is waking up because of cold put them in a baby sleeping bag which they cannot roll free of.
66. Avoid toddler night terrors – Research shows that toddlers that have got to the stage where they are overtired before being put to bed are more likely to have a night terror episode.
67. Don’t overdo daytime naps – Your toddler may still need a daytime nap, but it is important that they do not exceed more than 3 hours of daytime sleep. This can affect the quality of their sleep at night-time.
68. Give a 5-minute warning – giving your children a warning that it’s nearly bed time can help prevent bed-time tantrums.
69. Have a consistent bedtime routine – just as with adults a bedtime routine is important and mentally prepares your child for sleep. Make it fun and your child will be a willing participant.
70. Avoid big meals before bedtime – feed your child their evening meal early enough to allow time for them to digest their food before going to bed.
71. Try the ‘tissue trick’ – you saw it doing the rounds online a few weeks back but have you tried it? Simply slide a tissue over your babies face repeatedly until they fall asleep. The original YouTube video saw the dad’s baby fall asleep in just 42 seconds.
72. Sleep when your baby sleeps – Don’t feel bad about sleeping during the day. Even though your newborn will need feeding every few hours, there’s no reason you can’t get your head down in between feeds.
73. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – when friends and family turn up, ask if they’ll mind watching your baby for you whilst you have a little nap to catch up on your sleep.
74. Share nighttime feeds – work out a schedule with your partner which works for you both and allows you to get as much sleep as possible, and if mum’s breast feeding, dad could take his turn at middle-of-the-night nappy changes. If you’re bottle feeding, consider a one night on, one night off routine!
75. Sleep in a separate room to your partner – if you and your partner are taking it in turns to do night feeds, sleep in different rooms. That way, you’ll hopefully get an uninterrupted night.
76. Learn what settles your baby – Is it rocking them? Sitting them upright? Once you know what settles your baby when they’re crying, the easier it is to settle them back to sleep.
77. Let baby sleep in your room – don’t feel pressured to get your newborn in their own room straight away, use a Moses basket by your own bed so you needn’t get out of bed for feeds and nappy changes.
78. Remember that it won’t last forever – at 3am when your baby won’t settle, it’s all too easy to get yourself worked up but that will only make it harder to get back to sleep when they do. Remember the sleepless nights don’t last long!
We then wanted to open things up to a number of bloggers and experts from across the globe, so here goes; below you’ll find their top tips!
79. My tip for a good night’s sleep is to do plenty of outdoor activity during the day. A good walk, taking in the stunning scenery of the Cornish coast path sets me up for a relaxing evening – Heather B Moon, Children’s Author
80. A free app called ‘ Sleep Soundly Hypnosis’ works every time! I’m asleep within 5mins – Catherine Close
81. A cup of Chamomile tea 30 minutes before bed. It’s a natural sedative which when drunk regularly can aid in a good nights sleep and relief from insomnia – Paul McCann, Tea Witty
82. I sleep with a buckwheat heating pad which gives me comfort and helps me fall asleep easily – Kimberly Petrosino, Holistic Health Coach
83. I listen to soulful music or natural sounds like the ocean waves or waterfalls on your iPod/iPad – Ruksana Hussain
84. A firm mattress is a good idea. Avoid soft, fluffy mattresses or waterbeds – Lipi Roy, MD (Harvard)
85. A dark, cool room helps – use room darkening blinds to make the room as dark as possible – Jenn Kelner, Child Sleep Consultant
86. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Stay in the moment, take a few deep breaths to get the body relaxed and just doze off – Amanda Campbell, Holistic Health Practitioner
87. Lay perfectly still with your eyes closed and breathe deeply for 10 minutes – do not even move a finger or blink. You’re likely to be asleep before the 10 minutes is up – Trinity S. Perkins, M.S.Ed, Certified Nutrition Consultant & Personal Trainer
88. A great technique I discovered for myself was to use imagination. When lying in bed, imagine yourself as vividly as you can in some nice relaxing place. It could be a tropical island, a garden, even a jacuzzi. Somewhere YOU find relaxing and pleasant – Jon Rhodes, Hypnotherapist
89. Fluff the duvet, bedclothes, blankets and so on-remove any cats, dogs or other livestock – Sophie Burkart, Luxury Dressing Gowns Retailer
90. When you’ve snuggled into your bed and are ready to sleep tonight, let these images carry you into deep restorative sleep – *Sleep Dome:* With your eyes closed, imagine an energetic barrier shaped like a dome arching over you providing safety and comfort. This protective dome is where deep restfulness and sleep occur. Notice the shape, the size and the colour of your protective shield, and adjust it until it is just right. Know that outside of the shield, anything you need to attend to during the day is separated from you. It will be there tomorrow when the time is right. – Leslie Davenport, Therapist
91. One of the things I use for a great nights rest is Lavendar Epsom salt in a hot bath. It’s very relaxing & soothing. – Darisha Miller
92. Use Owaves, the world’s first “wellness planner” which has been designed to help people prioritise important, life-sustaining activities like sleep, nutrition, and exercise alongside traditional work and errands. – Royan Kamyar, CEO – Owaves
93. An incredible technique to help you fall asleep is rubbing sesame oil and lavender essential oil on your feet. The feet represent your earth and draw your energy down. Sesame oil is incredibly grounding and often used in Ayurveda practices, and the lavender essential oil is relaxing and soothing. This combination will provide a deep and restful sleep. Simply pour a 1/4 cup of sesame oil into a jar, add 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil. Massage your feet with this oil. Feel free to put on socks so the oil doesn’t get on your sheets. – Alexandra Pony, Yoga Therapist
94. For me, in order to get a good night’s sleep, I need to know that my skin is being cared for too. Rest is so important to prevent dark circles, and I always change my linens at least once a week in order to keep my body clear of growing bacteria from oils, sweat and dead skin cells that accumulate on sheets. In between changes, I spray them with a tea tree oil mix (10 drops of tea tree oil in a 10-12oz bottle of purified water) to keep them fresh – Scott-Vincent Borba
95. What I’ve also come up with for myself are having a few thoughts/daydreams that I reserve only for thinking about when I’m in bed. Over time, they seem to make me sleepy by association, and it oddly helps a lot – Mollie Sperduto
96. Duvets with natural fillings, like feather and down, are soft, warm and breathable, but if you suffer from allergies, choose a synthetic duvet – Kathryn Williams, Cherries In The Snow
97. I’m a messy person by nature. My bedroom often looks like a clothes bomb has exploded, which isn’t good for a relaxing sleep, so I always try to clear the area before getting between the sheets. – Charlotte M, Smudgeness
98. An early night, clean fresh sheets and the right amount of comfy pillows! And stealing as much of the bed/duvet as possible! Although with a toddler in the house – sometimes a good night sleep is just not allowed!! – Lisa Cornwell, Mummascribbles
99. Make sure the room is as calm and serene as possible. Open a window for ventilation if you can, and ensure you switch off all electrical items, even from standby mode – the lights will hamper the quality of your sleep – Jen Stanbrook, Love Chic Living
100. My advice for a good night’s sleep is putting down the technology at least 30 minutes before bed and NOT checking your phone before you go to sleep. Oh and a clean warm bed always helps too! – Donna Billson, Little Lilypad Co
So there you go – 100 top tips to help you get a great night’s sleep! Are there any we’ve forgotten? Have you got your own methods to help you nod off which aren’t on the list! We’d love you to leave a comment below and let us know!