Top 10 ways to get better sleep

It's a universal complaint that you hear every day: "I'm tired!" or " I didn't get enough sleep". Check out our top tips for getting the best out of your kip.

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Routine - Having a bedtime routine will teach your body to become tired and ready for bed at the right time. Once you've got one and put it into practice, much like Pavlov's dogs, the moment you start making your cup of cocoa or brushing your teeth, your body will know it's bedtime and will respond with the appropriate sleepy feelings.

Exercise - what better way to ensure you sleep well than to tire yourself out? Although, it's not recommended to exercise within 4 hours of going to sleep. Regular exercise does help to improve sleep patterns.

Alcohol - You'll never guess, but alcohol does not help you sleep well. Yes, it can knock you out, but you won't get a proper night's sleep. Avoid alcohol to improve the quality of your sleep.

Food - Try not to eat too near to bedtime as this will have your digestive system working overtime while you are trying to rest. Spicy and fatty foods are especially likely to give you a poor night's sleep.

Bedroom - Try to make sure your room is dark, quiet and cool. If you're a light sleeper, bright early morning rays of sunshine will rip you from sleep before your alarm clock, so will unexpected noises in the night an excess heat. Consider wearing an eye mask and earplugs if you can't improve your bedroom.

Ban electronics - Watching TV, playing computer games, using telephones and computers will all stimulate your brain far too much to give it a chance to relax into sleep if you use them just before bedtime. Keep these gadgets out of your bedroom and you'll find your quality of sleep will improve.

White noise - Some people find that this helps them to relax and drift off because it recreates the sensation of being in the womb. Also, the frequency of white noise is such that is can drown out other noises such as talking. You can use machines like a fan to create white noise although the effect is not as good as using a white noise CD.

Smoking - You should avoid smoking before sleeping because, despite what many smokers say, nicotine does not relax you: it is a stimulant and it will keep you up. Also, smokers tend to wake up early suffering from withdrawel symptoms.

Coffee - Maybe it's an obvious one but caffeine keeps you awake. Don't drink coffee near bedtime. In fact, don't even drink caffeine-free coffee, just to be on the safe side. Why not have a nice hot malty drink instead? Or a herbal tea? Make it part of your bedtime winding-down routine and you'll be on the road to the land of nod.

Naps - Daytime naps, although they can be nice, will not help you sleep at nighttime. Your body needs to get tired out during the day so that it is ready to sleep long and deeply during the night. So cut out the catnaps and start sleeping properly.

Got any more tips for wannabe sleepyheads? Leave a comment and share them here.