Sleep problems: how to make your sleep more restful

Millions of people have trouble sleeping. Often, even simple measures can help to significantly improve the quality of sleep. (Image: Wordley Calvo Stock /

Sleep better with these tips

Many people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Too little or restless sleep means that the next day you are tired and irritable and cannot concentrate. But that need not be. An expert has a few tips that can help ensure a good night's sleep.


Insufficient or poor sleep not only makes you tired and weak, but also endangers health, according to experts. If the sleep problems are not caused by physical or mental illnesses, simple measures often help to significantly improve the quality of sleep. The neurologist Dr. In an article by the renowned Cleveland Clinic (USA), Nancy Foldvary-Shaefer gives some tips that help you to relax better at night.

Fill up with light during the day

"Your body has an internal clock that lets you know when it is time to go to bed," said Dr. Foldvary-Shaefer. This circadian rhythm is important in letting the brain know when it is time to sleep and when to stay awake.

You should make sure you get plenty of bright light or sunshine every day. Not only does this help you sleep at night, but it can give you more energy throughout the day.

Shorten screen time

In this day and age, many people find it difficult to stop surfing the Internet. However, it's more important than ever to take your time and take a break from headlines and social media.

Scrolling through headlines and social media before bed - or worse, while in bed - doesn't lead to a healthy sleep pattern, it makes you restless.

"Try setting up a curfew an hour or two before bed, when you turn off your electronic devices to relax for the night," recommends Dr. Foldvary-Shaefer.

Eat healthy

Diet affects how well you sleep. "Food is directly related to serotonin, a key hormone that, together with vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid, promotes healthy sleep," explains Dr. Foldvary-Shaefer.

The health professional recommends eating foods that calm the body, increase serotonin levels, and prepare you for a good night's sleep. These include complex carbohydrates such as those found in wholemeal bread and wholegrain pasta, lean protein such as chicken or turkey, heart-healthy fats such as walnuts, cashews and pistachios, and drinks such as warm milk or chamomile tea.

Don't take long naps

If you want to take a nap every day, limit it to ten or 15 minutes. That makes it easier to be fit again when you wake up. Napping too long or too often can negatively affect sleep patterns and lead to sluggishness. This is the feeling of lightheadedness or disorientation that we experience after waking up from a deep sleep.

Limit the alcohol

This bedtime nightcap can help you fall asleep easily, but it can rob you of a good night's sleep. As the alcohol is broken down in the second half of the night, sleep is interrupted. This can mean vivid dreams, sleepwalking, nightmares, and even breathing problems as alcohol relaxes your muscles. It can also mean waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. It is best to limit drinks late in the evening or to cut them off altogether.

Shift work problems

Working in shifts can affect your body's internal clock and lead to disturbed sleep. Dr. Foldvary-Shaefer recommends, "Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet, and let the people in your life know what hours you will work and when you will sleep so they know when to leave you alone."

The doctor advises against sleeping pills. If some are taken, then only for a short time. Instead, she recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. "If you suffer from insomnia, it is best to talk to your doctor," said Dr. Foldvary-Shaefer. (ad)

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