6 Tips for Better Sleep

How to get better sleep for better health and wellbeing.

 6 Science-Backed Tips To Catch More Z’s

We all know the feeling: tossing and turning all night, staring at the ceiling while the minutes tick by. But beyond the frustration and grogginess of a bad night’s sleep, lurks a more significant threat. Chronic sleep deprivation is like a thief in the night, quietly stealing your precious energy, focus, and resilience. It weakens your body, muddles your mind, and throws your emotions off balance, impacting every aspect of your well-being.

The good news is there are solutions! In this blog post, we’ll dive into six science-backed techniques for getting your slumber back on track.

[VIDEO] How To Snooze Your Way to Better Health with Psychologist Jessica

Prefer to watch a video? Click the link below to watch as Body & Mind psychologist, Jessica shares evidence-based tips for falling (and staying) asleep. For best viewing, watch it in full screen. Alternatively, you can watch or listen to the video on Facebook here.

Important note: The information shared within this article and video is not a replacement for professional help. Consult your GP to discuss if a therapy is right for you. And if you, or someone you know, is in a crisis, please reach out to one of the 24/7 helplines listed below: 

– Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
– Lifeline: 13 11 14
– Open Arms: 1800-011-046

Struggling With Sleep? You’re Not Alone.

We might take it for granted in our youth, but quality sleep is the cornerstone of well-being. Yet for many of us, achieving a solid night’s rest can be a big challenge. 

This is especially true for those in demanding professions or exposed to high-stress situations, like first responders and Veterans. But it can also be a struggle to fall — or stay — asleep, especially if you’re experiencing additional stress, juggling a busy schedule, navigating parenthood or dealing with a health condition or injury. 

No matter your circumstances, not getting the right amount (or type!) of sleep will have a profound impact on both physical and mental health.

Related: Everyday mindfulness for better health

Why Achieving A Good Night Sleep Matters

Beyond feeling groggy or grumpy, chronic sleep deprivation packs a serious punch, negatively impacting our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Think of it as a thief in the night, stealing your energy, clarity, and resilience, one restless night at a time. 

In this next section, we’ll explore the impact that lack of sleep (particularly chronic sleep issues) can have on our bodies and minds.

The Body Feels the Strain

Imagine dragging yourself through a busy day with blurry vision, sluggish reactions, and a foggy mind. That’s what chronic sleep deprivation does. It weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and injuries. You fatigue easily, hindering your physical activity and impacting your ability to manage daily demands. Your body struggles to regulate weight, increasing the risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Sleep is like fuel for your body; without it, your performance suffers on every level.

The Mind Gets Muddled

Ever feel like your brain is operating on low battery? Missing out on those precious forty winks throws your mental focus off balance. Memory suffers, making it difficult to learn new things or retain information. Concentration crumbles, hindering your ability to work effectively and make sound decisions. Even reaction times slow down, putting yourself and others at risk in everyday situations. Sleep is like a software update for your brain; neglect it, and your mental sharpness gets compromised.

The Mood Takes a Hit

Think of feeling irritable, overwhelmed, or emotionally volatile after a restless night. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Poor rest throws your emotional compass off balance, leading to more mood swings and making it harder to manage stress and anxiety. The emotional toll can even contribute to the development of depression, impacting your relationships and overall well-being. Imagine navigating daily life with a sleep-deprived emotional state – it’s a recipe for struggle.

The Long-Term Consequences

The effects of chronic insomnia go far beyond feeling tired. Over time, it sets the stage for serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even neurological disorders. Your lifespan itself can be shortened by sleep deprivation. Think of it as a slow-burning fuse; every night of poor rest inches you closer to potential health risks.

Science-Backed Tips for Improving Your Slumber

Sleep is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. It’s your weapon against physical fatigue, mental fog, emotional instability, and long-term health risks. By prioritising quality sleep, you’re investing in your well-being, and empowering yourself to live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. Remember, sleep is not optional – it’s your silent ally in the fight for optimal health and peak performance.

The good news is that a lot of studies into sleep have been carried out and we now have access to several evidence-based techniques that can help you get back on track, fall asleep easier and stay asleep for longer.

Tip 1: Optimise Your Sleep Environment

Make sure your room is dark by using blackout curtains or even aluminium foil on the window. (This is especially important if you’re sleeping at odd hours or during the daytime.) Reduce your screen time, liquids and caffeine before bed. Try playing relaxing sounds or white noise. And make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable!

Tip 2: Establish a Sleep Routine

Although it’s not possible to do so, try to go to sleep and get up at the same time, even on weekends. Develop a pre-bed ritual and stick to it. You might like to take a warm bath, diffuse an essential oil like lavender, practise a mindfulness meditation or progressive muscle relaxation technique or listen to a Sleep Story. Whatever your routine is, try to repeat it, in the same order each time you go to sleep.

Tip 3: Keep a Sleep Diary

Track your sleep patterns, including bedtime, wake time and any factors that may affect sleep (for example, TV, social media, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol consumption), and start to see if you can identify patterns and areas for improvement.

Tip 4: Manage Your Stress and Anxiety

If you find your mind is racing non-stop and hard to switch off, deep breathing exercises, journaling and mindfulness can help. Notice the impact that your stress is having on your nightly slumber and commit to practising mindfulness throughout your day, not just before you go to bed. Allocate yourself a designated “worry time” to process everything from the day, and then start to practise letting it go before bed.

Related: Breathing exercises to calm your body and mind

Tip 5: Get Regular Exercise and Sunlight

Engage in regular physical activity — another great stress reliever — but avoid doing anything too rigorous before bed. It’s also a great idea to get exposure to natural light during the day, ideally in the morning if possible, to regulate the circadian rhythm.

Related: Chair-based exercises you can do from home

Tip 6: Ask Your Psychologist or GP About CBT-I

CBT-I — or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy specifically for Insomnia — is a structured, evidence-based therapeutic approach specifically designed to address and improve sleep-related issues and insomnia. CBT-I is considered the gold standard for treating insomnia and is recommended by healthcare professionals as a first-line treatment

What Is CBT-I and How Can It Help?

CBT-I focuses on changing behaviours and thoughts specifically related to sleep, rather than addressing broader psychological concerns.

It’s tailored to an individual’s needs and addresses the unique factors contributing to each person’s insomnia.

What Are The Key Components Of CBT-I? 

  • Cognitive Restructuring: Identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs about sleep. This helps individuals develop a healthier mindset and reduce anxiety associated with sleep.
  • Sleep Restriction: Restricting the amount of time spent in bed awake to match the individual’s actual sleep duration. This aims to consolidate sleep and improve sleep efficiency.
  • Stimulus Control: Associating the bed and bedroom with sleep, and not with wakefulness. This involves specific guidelines, such as using the bed only for sleep and intimacy and avoiding stimulating activities in bed.
  • Sleep Hygiene Education: Providing guidance on optimising the sleep environment and establishing good sleep hygiene practices. This may include recommendations on bedtime routines, lighting, and noise control.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Introducing relaxation exercises and techniques to manage stress and anxiety, which are common contributors to insomnia. Techniques may include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery.
  • Biofeedback: Using monitoring devices to provide real-time feedback on physiological indicators such as muscle tension and heart rate. This helps individuals learn to control and reduce physiological arousal that may interfere with sleep.

How To Know If CBT-I Is Right For You

When delivered by a trained professional, CBT-I can be an ideal option for:

  • Chronic Insomnia Sufferers (meaning anyone having difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing non-restorative sleep for at least three nights per week for three months or longer)
  • Anyone looking for a Non-Pharmacological Approach
  • People with Coexisting Conditions (like anxiety, depression or chronic pain)
  • Elderly people
  • People Seeking Long-Term Solutions (not a quick fix)
  • Those with Lifestyle-Related Sleep Issues
  • Shift Workers
  • People with Primary Insomnia

Discuss with your GP or psychologist to assess whether CBT-I or another form of therapy is suitable for addressing your specific sleep-related challenges.


By incorporating the tips outlined in this post, you can transform those restless nights into restful slumbers and unlock the incredible power of quality sleep.

Whether you choose to seek professional guidance through therapy or embark on a journey of self-improvement with practical lifestyle changes, remember – don’t let sleep deprivation steal your well-being! Prioritise your sleep, invest in its quality, and reap the countless benefits it has to offer. As the renowned author Matthew Walker beautifully states, “Sleep is not the reward for our hard work, it is the fuel that allows us to perform at our best.”

Embrace the power of sleep, and watch your life bloom with renewed energy, improved focus, and a brighter outlook. Sweet dreams and a sleep-filled future await!

Finally, to learn more about our mindfulness programs which include access to the World’s Happiest App, Calm, as well as regular consults with trained health professionals (like Jessica), click here.

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