Tips for better sleep

  • Discover these five top tips for a good sleep
  • The technology debacle that ruins sleep
  • The surprising salad ingredient that can help you relax at night

The chaps at the office have been through a move…

This created havoc with telephone and internet services.

Despite careful planning we suffered from nearly a week without telephone lines and patchy internet.

It just proves that I am right to treat anything technological with healthy suspicion, and worry whenever I hear a service provider say “There’s nothing to worry about, you won’t even notice that it has changed.”

If only!

Please accept my, and the teams apologies for any hassles you have suffered over the period. Be assured that normal service is fully resumed.

But it has caused us all some sleepless nights so I thought it might be a good idea to share a few tips for all of us to get as better and restful sleep.

Sleep: We all need it… or do we?

It’s a sad fact that as we age we tend to sleep less well, and often find that our sleep is easily disturbed.

I was intrigued to discover that some researchers feel that this decrease in the need for sleep as we age is due to the fact that we no longer need to learn, or deal with new experiences(1).

The paper suggests that in younger life we are exposed to many new and challenging situations that our bodies need time to deal with – and we enter a shutdown phase at night that allows us to do this.

It’s an interesting concept that has some logical implications for those who remain active and stimulated into old age; if you make efforts to learn new skills, or devote time to learning new languages the chances are you will sleep better.

There is no one size fits all approach to getting quality sleep because it is a very personal process.

Researchers have found that we have very different ways of dropping off to the land of nod, varying between the lucky ones who pass out as soon as their head hits the pillow, to others that have to count sheep for hours before being claimed by Morpheus (the God of sleep don’t you know!)

Five more tips for a better nights sleep

Here are a few tips you might like to try;

  • Warm up for bed. Have a nice hot bath or shower and get into cosy jim-jams or night dress and snuggle on the settee with a warm milky drink before bedtime, or choose a natural tea such as Chamomile, Valerian Root or Hops. This really relaxes the muscles and calms the mind, taking you to a more soporific state. There are also good natural remedies to help like Calmophytum which has a blend of herbal extracts to help you achieve relaxing sleep.
  • Keep regular hours. Whilst not advocating a strict bedtime as such, it does help to have a routine so that you go to bed and wake at roughly the same time every day. Of course, there is still a clear need for a Sunday morning lie in with the papers, and the odd lazy duvet day whenever you can… plus who can resist a late night party every once in a while – but I think you get the general idea.
  • Keep the bedroom for sleeping (and such beastliness that occurs between consenting adults!). By avoiding watching TV, eating and even reading in bed you train yourself to associate bed with sleep and this conditions the mind.
  • Be smart about napping. While taking a nap can be a great way to recharge, especially as we age, it can make insomnia worse. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating napping. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply. Many people who struggle to get to sleep tend to breathe fast and shallow, using the muscles in the top of their chests rather than the big diaphragm muscle in the tummy. Try slowly filling your lungs by breathing from your belly, hold the full breath for a second or two then gently release it. Repeat for 4 or 5 minutes and you may be surprised how quickly you enter sleep.

Of course there is the need to think about what we eat and drip before bed, avoiding coffee, tobacco and alcohol all helps, as does eating a light meal, but I’m about to recommend something that might surprise a few of you.

Let me explain.

A surprising use for celery

Celery is one of those salad table members that people either put up with or hate – very few adore it, and that is a shame.

I find that its light taste and crunch always brightens up a meal, and even munch it on its own, in less enlightened days I would even dip it in salt or sugar… imagine the hedonism of my youth!

However, celery can really help you relax and sleep as it has a calming effect on the central nervous system. In fact, celery seed is often used as a herbal remedy for nervousness, insomnia and anxiety.

So if you’re suffering sleepless nights, try adding a tablespoonful of honey to a
small cup of celery juice, extracted with a juicer. Sip it slowly half an hour before you go to bed. It should help you relax and get to sleep.

Hopefully today’s letter has given you plenty of ways to help you have a better night’s sleep.

Be careful though as while celery is natural and safe, please be aware that it’s a strong diuretic, meaning you might find yourself weeing more.


 (1) Cirelli, C. (2012). Brain plasticity, sleep and aging. Gerontology, 58(5), 441-445.