Do you see a good night's sleep as one of the most important things in life?

I really hope your answer to that question is YES.

Good sleep is one of the most important contributors to physical and mental health and wellbeing. Poor sleep can ruin your life. If you don't sleep soundly and wake refreshed, you need to check out these key points:

1. Poor sleep is often a symptom of stress. Get a sheet of plain paper. Draw a line down the middle. In the left-hand column, write down all the things that stress you out. In the right-hand column opposite each cause of stress, begin to devise a strategy for tackling each one. For example, a cause of stress could be money worries. The solutions should include establishing exactly what you owe to who, prioritising your repayments, contacting all your creditors to let them know the position you're in, cutting your expenditure, and finding ways to boost your income.

2. Ensure you've not had an excessively large meal or drunk too much alcohol in the 3 hours before you sleep. Your last meal of the day should contain plenty of vegetables, lean protein such as salmon or chicken breast, and complex carbs. Minimise the alcohol and saturated fat. And digest fully before you hit the pillow.

3. Get plenty of exercise - it's one of the best ways to sleep better. Exercise rids your body and mind of pent-up tension, and releases endorphins, the 'happy' hormone. And the more fit you become, the more efficient your body will be at getting to sleep, and staying asleep through the night. Your blood will flow more freely, your breathing will be deeper, and your windpipe will not be squeezed by excess body-fat.

4. Make your bedroom conducive to good sleep. Your bedroom should be well-ventilated, clean and free of clutter, and as dark and quiet as possible. Here's your action plan for your bedroom: Take all small items out of the room, vacuum the room thoroughly, thow away any junk, and put as many small items such as clothing or books away in wardrobes/bookshelves. Then ensure your curtains/blinds are thick enough to block out all light - pitch darkness is a great sleep aid. If you've ever been lucky enough to sleep in a five star hotel, you'll know what I mean.

5. Develop a regular pattern of sleep. Try to get to sleep before midnight, sleep for 7-8 hours, and get up at a regular time. I tend to sleep from 10pm- 5am. If you can sleep on til 6am, even better. Or if you're not a 'morning person' and feel at your most productive at night, sleep from midnight to 7 or 8am. A reguar pattern will help your body and mind prepare for sleep.

It's worth making good sleep one of your highest priorities in life. Take it seriously, and you'll reap the rewards. Read up on the subject, join online networks to discover what strategies other people have found useful. Goodnight, and sleep well!

Author's Bio: 

Dominic is a personal fitness trainer in London, with over 7 years experience helping clients get fitter, stronger, quit smoking, sleep better, lose excess body fat, and gain more muscle tone.