Our bodies are designed to rest and recharge at night and around 7-8 hours is ideal. However when we are ill we need even more sleep. In addition, there are studies that suggest that a short afternoon nap of half an hour may be more in tune with our natural biological rhythms. Some people certainly benefit from taking a nap so be guided by what your body is telling you.

Here are some tips to help you get a good night's rest....

1) Develop a routine. Try to go to bed at a regular time each night, even if you don't fall asleep straight away. A warm bath can help relax you, as can a warm drink (see 2 below).

2) Avoid caffeine which can be found in tea, coffee, cola and chocolate. This is a stimulant and can keep you awake. Try decaffeinated drinks, herb teas, water or even Grannies favourite 'warm milk & honey'

3) Don't engage in stimulating or vigorous activities close to bed time. Make sure you have at least an hour to wind down after vigorous exercise and avoid reading exciting books or TV before bed.

4) Avoid alcohol - although this can make you feel sleepy initially, it is actually a stimulant and can cause you to wake later on.

5) Don't eat late at night. Allow time for your food to digest before bedtime.

6) Make your bedroom a relaxing, comfortable, sleeping room. Make sure it isn't too hot or too cold. Ideally remove computers and TV's from the bedroom (if your bedroom is also your office make a point of turning the computer off completely before bedtime).

7) Do a relaxation exercise (see an example below), buy a relaxation tape, meditate or do suitable yoga or chi gong exercises.

8) Write down any concerns or worries you have so that you don't need to keep thinking about them.

9) Massage your feet, particularly the middle of the ball of the foot (this point is supposed to bring excess energy from the head to the feet, calming and helping us to sleep)

Naturally there are lots of homeopathic remedies that can be helpful to treat people with sleep difficulties and so if you are persistently tired or have long term problems you should seek the professional help of your homeopath or doctor.

A Simple Relaxation Exercise .....

Lie relaxed in bed on your back. Make sure you are comfortable and warm
focus on your breathing, taking long slow breaths
then starting at your toes tense your toes and feet then allow them to relax
moving up tense your calves, and relax, then your thighs and relax
tense your fingers and hands then allow them to relax
tense your arms and relax
then tensing and relaxing each in turn, tense your buttocks, your abdomen and torso, your shoulders, your neck and finally screw up your face and then relax
having tensed and relaxed all of your body continue to take long slow breaths

Author's Bio: 

Sue Trotter BSc DSH MARH MAC is a Registered Homeopath and Life Coach, using natural methods to improve health and wellbeing. To contact Sue visit optimumbeing.co.uk.