The following suggestions are designed to prepare you mentally and physically for sleep.  

During the DAY

               Try to get some exercise, even if itís just taking a walk.

A little exercise makes the need for sleep greater because our bodies need the rest to recover.

               Reduce caffeine intake.

Caffeine is a stimulant; drinking tea and coffee and some fizzy drinks (eg cola) may therefore make it difficult to sleep.  Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others.  I know that if I drink a lot of coffee during the day Iíll find it difficult to sleep.  I definitely have problems if I drink tea or coffee after 6pm.

During the EVENING

               Do not drink any tea or coffee after 6pm.

               Allow at least an hour to sit quietly and unwind before bed.

               Do not drink lots of fluids, particularly alcohol.

-      Turn upside down or bend forward or both for at least 5 minutes *

Drinking lots of fluids close to bed time increases the likelihood that your sleep will be disturbed by the need to visit the toilet.  Although alcohol may make you feel more able to sleep, too much of it disturbs sleep.  Itís a diuretic, which means that you pass out more than you take in; increasing the probability of a the need for the toilet during the night.  Also, your body needs to eliminate the alcohol while you sleep, for each half a pint of 4% alcohol you require approximately half an hour extra sleep.

*Here's another tip I picked up from a yoga journal: bend forward from the hips or turn yourself upside down for at least five minutes just before bed.  I know it sounds strange but it really works!  I find the "child pose" works best:  Child's pose

If you have difficulty with this pose, try sitting on a comfortable chair, placing folded blankets or cushions on your knees for support, and flopping forwards over them. Make sure you can comfortable relax in the position you choose. When bending forwards, wriggle your hips slightly to start the bend from the right place.

Or you could lie on the floor and put your feet / legs up on a chair.

Let me know if you find any other interesting ways to turn yourself upside down before bed!


               Catch the waves

Whist youíre sitting unwinding during the evening you should notice that the tiredness comes over you in waves.  How many times do you start to feel tired, but by the time you get into bed youíre wide awake?  Once in bed, using no energy and feeling tense about the need to get to sleep, itís along time coming.

One of the tricks to getting a good nightís sleep is to catch a wave.  Make sure all you need to do when the tiredness grabs you is crawl into bed.  If you miss one wave, wait for the next.  Another alternative is to read a (not too interesting) book in bed.  When the wave comes all you need to do is put your book down. 

I find that doing the child's pose (see above) brings on the waves.


               Donít try to go to sleep

This may sound strange, but I find that if I really REALLY want to go to sleep, the pressure makes me feel tense and pushes sleep further away.  Instead, try saying to yourself as you go to bed:

ďIt doesnít matter if I sleep or not, what I need is to rest my mind and body so they can carry out the important repairs and maintenance.  Whatís more, Iím going to enjoy the opportunity to relax without feeling guilty because there really is nothing else I should be doing.Ē

               Relax your body and still your thoughts.

Lay on your back and relax.  Place one hand gently on the stomach over the navel.  As you breathe, feel this hand move up and down; your chest should remain still.  As you inhale, push your stomach out slightly, to exhale just relax and let it fall on itís own.

Imagine yourself sinking into the bed.  Starting with your toes, tense and relax every part of your body.  Finish with the face, head and scalp:  lift the eyebrows, then relax.  Open the mouth wide, pull silly faces, then relax.

Keep scanning your body, tensing and relaxing any part that tightens up again.

Use your IMAGINATION.  Imagine that youíre in a nice, peaceful, relaxing place.  Perhaps in the sun or on the beach.  Paint the picture, imagine that youíre there, feel the sun on your face or the waves lapping over your toes.

Often, sleep is disturbed because of the thoughts flying round your head.  Itís not always easy to turn them off.  The above exercise directs your thoughts to a more relaxing place instead.

               If you start to toss and turn, try hanging your head over the edge of the bed for a bit.
.          If this doesn't work, get up.

You must have missed that wave, try again for the next one.


Roll over to the side of the bed and hang your head over the edge for a bit.  I don't really know why this works but it does!





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