No counting sheep required for these easy sleep tips!

Struggling to get the shut-eye you need? You’re not alone – 1 in 5 of us aren’t getting our recommended 8 hours*. With Sleep Awareness Week starting on 6 March, here’s how to make sure you nod off all night…

1. Munch on magnesium

Known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’, magnesium helps to relax our muscles and also triggers your brain to switch off, vital for function of GABA – a calming neurotransmitter. Include foods such as spinach, kale, fish and pumpkin seeds into your evening meal to aid your sleep.

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2. Meditate

Book into an evening yoga classes at the gym or do a DVD at home after work. Medical Herbalist, Katie Pande recommends 15-30 minutes of meditation or yoga every day to calm the mind.

Why not try: Headspace, an app that offers meditation techniques for mindfulness and stress relief. Available FREE on the app store.

3. Switch the kettle on

‘Winding down before bed is as important as stretching before exercise. Try, drinking calming herbal-based teas to relax the nervous system and lull you into sleep,’ Katie explains. So no tea or coffee after 6pm!

Why not try: Pukka Herbs’ Night Time Tea, £2.39 for 20 sachets

4. EAT CARBS!

Yet another reason why bread isn’t the enemy! Slow-releasing carbohydrates help keep your blood sugar stable, providing your body with continuous energy.

Dr Marilyn Glenville, one of the UK’s leading nutritionist, recommends a serving of brown rice with dinner or a slice of rye bread.

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5. Ditch the cheese platter

Sorry to brie a pain, but cheese can actually cause sleep problems. ‘Eating a heavy meal with a high fat content late at night can give you indigestion which can cause a disturbed sleep,’ says Dr Glenville. How grating!

6. Avoid booze before bed

A few glasses of wine in front of the TV may seem like the perfect nightcap but alcohol can really disrupt sleep. ‘Although it may make us fall asleep quickly, sleep is poor quality and we can wake up after a few hours,’ explains Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritionist at www.nutricentre.com.

She recommends sticking to no more than one glass of wine or beer to ‘encourage optimal sleep’.

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7. Or you could try…

A recent poll** revealed that a cuddle, hot water bottle and a fleecy blanket were among the top fifty things most likely to make us drift off. Alternatively, you could tune into Match Of The Day or Prime Minister’s questions – these TV shows made the top 50 cut too!

*Survey commissioned by NutriCentre, October 2015

**Poll of 2,000 adults commissioned by bedding giant, Slumberdown.