Sleep aids

Over-the-counter products are short-term solutions, but there are other ways to improve sleep.
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  • Updated:9 Jan 2005

06.Sleep tips

  • Make sure your room is comfortable — not too hot or cold, with a comfortable mattress on the bed, some fresh air and a minimum of noise (use a white noise machine, a fan or earplugs if noise is a problem).
  • Establish that the bed is for sleep or sex only — don’t work, read, argue or worry there.
  • People who suffer from sleep disorders often have faulty perceptions about sleep. Experts point out that if you don’t sleep you still get sleepy, but a lot of people don’t use that fact to help themselves. If you get insomnia you tend to go to bed early and stay in bed late to give yourself the maximum possibility of sleeping. However, when you don’t sleep this can create a negative association with going to bed. So don’t get into bed until you’re really sleepy.
  • If you don’t fall asleep after a period of about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing — have a bath, read a book (nothing too stimulating — no thrillers!), listen to soft music — then get back into bed when you’re sleepy. Get up again if you still can’t sleep. It might take a few goes, but you should eventually nod off.
  • While a lot of people think having a few stiff drinks is a good recipe for getting off to sleep and staying there, experts say it’s a no-no: alcohol disturbs sleep patterns.

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