Healthy sleep habits can really improve your quality of life, people who sleep better tend to be happier and achieve more. So what can you do to improve your sleep? First of all, most experts agree that sticking to a consistent sleep schedule helps to regulate your body clock and may help you fall asleep and stay asleep for longer. A relaxing bedtime ritual right before bedtime can also help separate your sleep time from other activities that can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, avoid naps in the afternoon and exercise daily. Next check your sleep environment to ensure everything is just right for you to get a decent nights sleep. Your bedroom should be cool and free from noise and light. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs or white noise devices if required.

Avoid bright artificial light later in the evening and reduce or eliminate alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine consumption. Eating large meals to close to bedtime can also make it hard to sleep. A comfortable mattress and pillows can make all the difference to our sleeping patterns, make sure your mattress is comfortable and is replaced at least every 10 years. If you still can’t sleep even after improving your sleeping habits, try going into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired again.

There are 4 main stages of sleep and your body cycles through each stage during the night. Stage one non-REM sleep begins when you first lie down, close your eyes and begin to fall asleep. This period of stage one sleep will usually last between three and twelve minutes. Stage two non-REM sleep is a deeper stage of light sleep, but stage three non-REM sleep marks the passage from light to deep sleep and lasts about 10 minutes during the first sleep cycle and accounts for around 7 percent of a total night’s sleep.

Stage four non-REM sleep is the deepest when we sleep the most soundly, this is when our bodies do their repair work and during this stage it can be difficult to wake someone up. Stage four sleep lasts about 35 to 40 minutes during the first sleep cycle of the night in adults and accounts for around 20 percent of total sleep time.

Some people manage to get eight hours of sleep, but are still tired the next day. This may be due to how they wake up, their morning routine. Energy levels throughout the day can be predicted by what you do when you first get up. A frantic start to the day can shock you into waking up, but leave you flagging later by late morning or early afternoon. This can reduce creativity and concentration, while leaving people feeling irritable and stressed.

It’s much better to start the day gently by letting your body wake up more naturally, as a more relaxing start can lead to a more energized day. Sunrise alarm clocks with a gradually brightening light over a 20-30 minute period can really help many people to function better during the day by wakening them in a more natural way.