Having difficulty sleeping? The following helpful hints may help you to sleep more comfortably.

1.Try not to eat too late in the evening preferably before 7pm is best. This gives your digestion system the opportunity to function properly.

2. If you are hungry later in the evening have a hot milky drink or eat a couple of plain biscuits or a slice of toast. Nothing too heavy, greasy or spicy so no kebabs or curries.

3 Watching the News (featuring bombings or stabbings) or reading scary novels or murder mystery books is filling your mind with unpleasant images and your mind has to process this information as you are trying to drift off to sleep.

4. Likewise a lot of people do Sudoko or crossword puzzles if they cannot get off to sleep, this is keeping your mind alert and not allowing you to relax.

5. Try not to work too late into the evening either by bringing work home from school/college or the office, or surfing the net. A lot of people turn off the computer, brush their teeth, switch the alarm on and then expect to drop off to sleep 5 minutes later!

6. Going to the gym or going for a run late at night means that your body still has a lot of adrenalin circulating, so plan your exercise routine for earlier on so that your body can adjust.

7. Learning to relax using yoga or meditation helps to train your mind to switch off more easily and you will find that life stresses you much less.

8. Maybe have a nice warm bath or listen to some relaxing music to help you to unwind and relax before bedtime.

9. Make sure your mattress, pillows and duvet are comfortable and if need be replace them. A mattress needs replacing at a maximum of 7 years and pillows should be replaced every 6 months to remain fresh and plumper.

10. Consider a couple of sessions of hypnotherapy or reiki to help you to relax, cope with stress or anxiety and learn a habit of sleeping properly.

Margaret Cook  M.Ed  Dip Hypn  MBACP

About the author: Margaret is a qualified counsellor and clinical hypnotherapist