Many of us lead very busy and very stressful lives in this day and age, so it is not surprising that so many people have difficulty switching off at night and getting a good night's sleep. So in this article I want to discuss how you can overcome this problem and get a good night's sleep, ie at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

The first thing you need to do is to give yourself the opportunity to get a good night's sleep. So if you know that you have to be up at 7.00AM the next morning, you do not want to be going to bed at 1.00, for instance, because that would only give you 6 hours sleep even if you fall sleep straight away.

You also want to start going to bed and getting up in the morning at exactly the same time each and every day (including weekends if possible). This will help set your internal body clock, which is important because this will help your body relax and gradually wind down at the same time each day, and therefore make it a lot easier to fall sleep.

As well as this, you also need to make your body work during the day so that you always feel slowly tired at the end of the day. So you should avoid napping during the day and instead get plenty of exercise, even if it's just walking, because this will help you drop off every night.

It is also a good idea to have a shower or bath before bedtime as this will help relax your muscles, and once you are in bed you may find that it helps if you do some bedtime reading. Few people are able to go straight to bed and nod off straight away, so you can either read for a while or listen to a talk radio station. I find that setting my radio to sleep mode, ie where it switches itself off in one or two hours time, and listening to some of the inane discussion almost always helps me fall to sleep.

Finally there are certain things you should avoid doing just before bedtime. These include eating large meals, drinking alcohol or caffeine and doing rigorous exercise. These are all okay early in the evening but should be avoided just before you are about to go to bed.

If you can follow all of these guidelines, then you should be able to get a good night's sleep on a regular basis. Of course you always have the option of going to your doctor and requesting some sleeping pills, but you should not need to if you follow these basic steps.