Finding it difficult to fall asleep? Here are some tips by Dr Lim Li Ling, medical director, consultant neurologist and sleep physician at the Singapore Neurology and Sleep Centre.

Go Regular
“Have a regular sleep-wake schedule. Go to bed and get up around the same time every day.” This sets your biological clock so the hours of sleepiness and wakefulness – the circadian rhythm – are established.

Sweat it Out
“Exercise regularly in the evening after work and before dinner to de-stress and get a good physical workout.” Feel-good hormones like endorphins, which are released during exercise, have been shown to reduce stress.

Manage Caffeine intake
“Reduce or eliminate your overall consumption of caffeinated beverages, and try to avoid caffeine after 12pm.” A 2012 study showed that caffeine has an effect on sleep quality from as early as six hours before bedtime.

Have a Hobby
“Manage stress through hobbies, spiritual practices and recreational activities.” Stress in your work or personal life is a major contributor to sleep disorders such as insomnia. Time to pursue your interests can help regulate this.

Establish Quiet Time
“Develop a wind-down routine at bedtime, including having a quiet, dark and relaxing bedroom environment.” This sends signals to regulate the circadian rhythm and helps in the body’s natural production of melatonin – a hormone which affects your sleep-wake cycle.

Did you know that down is the preferred choice for pillows as it allows air to pass through, thus keeping our bodies cool which is essential to having a good sleep? We lay bare other essentials to a good night’s rest, in this month’s issue available here.