Your sleep plan

If lack of sleep, or poor-quality sleep, is affecting your life, this is your wake-up call


Your sleep plan

Sleep coach, Nick Littlehales, helps us put insomnia to bed!

1. How early is your earliest start?

First, work out the earliest time that you have to leave the house during the week. If you leave at 9am every day except for one day a week when you leave at 8am for a yoga class, pick the yoga day as your norm.

2. Determine your ‘real’ wake-up time

Now count back 90 minutes. So, assuming you have rearranged that morning yoga class, your wake-up time is 6.30am. Between 6.30am and 8am, activities such as breakfast, ablutions and going for a walk in daylight, are all vital for getting in sync with your circadian rhythms.

3. Determine your ‘real’ bedtime

Now count back seven and a half hours from your getting-up time (five sleep cycles) and you have your bedtime – 11pm.

4. When is best to switch off?

Now count back 90 minutes: 9.30pm is when your pre-sleep routine should start – the latest time you should be using digital devices, snacking or doing other activities that are disruptive to sleep. Dim the lights and focus on different things.

5. It’s a routine, but it’s flexible

If you are going out at night, just add 90 minutes to your usual bedtime, so 11pm for your pre-sleep routine, instead of 9.30pm, or 12.30am for your pre-sleep routine if you get in late. On those nights, simply have three or four sleep cycles, instead of five. (It’s cycles over the week that count.) Do not skip the pre-sleep or wake-up routines.

Work out your natural sleep pattern here