Getting enough sleep at night is a vital part of our overall health and wellbeing. Not only does a lack of shut eye make daily activities difficult but over extended periods of time it can be damaging to our bodies.

Despite this, it is thought that around one in three Britons will suffer from sleep issues at least once in their lives, with some even experiencing chronic insomnia.

According to health and wellbeing expert Dr Michael Mosley, getting good sleep can help protect you against a range of health issues including heart disease, diabetes, depression and dementia.

In his new book, 4 Weeks to Better Sleep, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail, he revealed some of his top tips for improving your sleep habits.

He said: “All the evidence shows that good sleep is an achievable skill. It just takes a little time and training to perfect and the right advice — which is why, by incorporating a few clever strategies that really work, I’ve come up with a four-week plan that can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep and even shift insomnia for good.”

Some of his advice may seem more obvious, with recommendations for changes you can make to your diet, as well as tracking your sleeping patterns.

However, another specific trick may seem rather unorthodox.

If you are struggling to drop off Dr Mosely actually recommended going to bed at a later time, a move he said could be “powerfully effective”.

The idea behind this is that it will prevent you from lying in bed worrying and “trying” to get to sleep as you will only go to bed when you are really tired.

This trains your brain to know going to bed is for falling asleep.

Prior to going to bed you should work out how much sleep you need, which may be as little as six hours a night.

As an example, if you need to get up at 7am you may not actually need to go to bed until 1am.

Dr Mosely explained: “Sleep specialists have long known that one of the most effective ways to break this vicious cycle is to spend less time in bed.

“It’s called Sleep Restriction Therapy (or sometimes Bedtime Restriction Therapy) and it can be a powerful tool to help people break their insomnia.

“The principles are simple: by reducing the amount of time you spend in bed you intensify your urge to sleep so that when your head does hit the pillow, you drop off quickly into a deep and restorative sleep.

“After a while, your brain re-learns to associate being in bed with being asleep, rather than with ruminating and worrying.”

He warned this process is “not easy” but could cure even the “most stubborn” insomnia cases.

Other tips from Dr Mosely include upping your protein intake and opting for a Mediterranean diet, which is high in olive oil, nuts, oily fish and veg and avoiding ultra-processed foods, cakes and biscuits.

This is especially effective for women, he said.

He also advised keeping a sleep journal to track what time you go to bed, when you wake up and how long you lay awake to give you a goal of something to aim for.

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