For many people, sleep comes naturally. They can do it with their eyes closed. But for those of us who regularly count sheep, enjoying a good night's rest can seem an impossible dream. Whether you're woken by the kids, kept awake by a snoring partner or your mind is running in circles, what you really want is to go to bed relaxed and wake up feeling rested. So we've come up with 7 out of the ordinary sleep tips that might not have crossed your radar before.
If you're sleeping with someone who's restless and keeps stealing the covers, make a change. No, not your partner. The duvet. Try making up your bed with the usual base sheet but put two single duvets on it, rather than one queen/king size. This gives everyone a wee bit more room to move and makes for harmonious shuteye.
Try acupressure, it's a technique that mirrors acupuncture but without the needles. Place your thumb at the eyebrow centre at the top of your nose and hold gentle pressure for about 20 seconds. Release.
Exercise is a simple way to wear your body out during the day, so when you hit the sack you're physically tired and ready for a kip. If you've ever seen a parent encouraging their toddler to race around a playground before naptime, you've got the basic concept.
Chocolate bickies and a cup of tea? Watch what you eat just before your siesta - avoid sugary, high fat snacks that tell your body to get up and go. Eat light if you're eating late. And while you're thinking about what goes in your mouth, quit smoking. Among its many questionable characteristics, nicotine is a stimulant.
If you're feeling wired press the pause button on laptops, the TV, Smartphones, tablets and every other digital device well before bedtime. Bright lights, cat videos and FOMO* do not make for a good night's slumber. Set up some ground rules to switch off from work emails and social media post-dinner.
(*Fear of missing out)
Routines are comforting. We set them up for our children with bedtime stories, teddies and calming music, so why not create a ritual for yourself? Try taking a warm shower or bath or do meditation or yoga before bed to send a signal to your brain that it's time for sleep. And don't forget to set the scene. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature (over 18 degrees C in winter) and use a fan if it gets too hot. Avoid sources of bright light by installing black out curtains or wearing a comfortable eye mask.
While there's always going to be the odd sleepless night, don't stress out about it. The more you lie in bed worrying, the less likely you are to return to dreamland. Get up, make a non-caffeinated drink and write a list of all the things that are on your mind. And if health insurance is on that list you can rest easy. Southern Cross' Wellbeing and Health Essentials plans give you peace of mind, day and night...