The health benefits of getting your 40 winks are no secret. Studies have linked disrupted sleep patterns to Alzheimer's disease, while it's claimed that snoring and sleep apnea "increase cancer risk".

Recently sleep disturbance has been linked to road traffic noise, after The World Health Organization recognised environmental noise as harmful pollution with adverse psychosocial and physiological effects.

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  • Breathe

    "Shut your eyes and focus on your breathing as it becomes slower and deeper. This makes your body more relaxed."

  • Switch Off

    "Finish everything you have to do on your computer by 10pm. Switch off mobiles and PCs and leave them outside of the bedroom so you're not tempted to answer texts or emails."

  • Have A Bath (Not Shower)

    "Take a long, hot bath before going to bed. This helps relax and soothe your muscles. Showers, on the other hand, tend to wake you up. Insomniacs should avoid showers in the evening."

  • Never Oversleep

    "Never oversleep because of a poor night's sleep. Get up at about the same time every day, especially on the morning after you've lost sleep. Sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle and you'll get sleepy later and wake up later.

  • Eat Early

    "Don't go to bed on a full stomach - make your final meal before 9pm."

  • Create A Story

    "Create a story in your head and allow your imagination to experience that story."

  • Don't Worry

    "Don't go to bed worrying about anxieties or concerns. They can wait until tomorrow."

  • Avoid Caffeine And Tyrosine

    "Caffeine, a chemical in coffee, tea and chocolate causes hyperactivity and wakefulness. Some sleep laboratories encourage people to avoid such tyrosine-laden foods as fermented cheeses such as cheddar cheese, ripe avocados, some imported beers and fermented meats (bologna, pepperoni, salami). Also avoid red wines, especially chianti."

A study of noise pollution in the highly urbanised area of Georgia in America suggests that many residents are exposed to high noise levels that put them at risk of annoyance or sleep disturbance, which can have serious health consequences.

"Our research estimated that the percentage of the overall populations at risk of high annoyance is 9.5%, and highly disturbed sleep at 2.3%," says co-author James Holt.

"Long-term exposure to noise could increase the risks of heart attack and high blood pressure. Night-time noise can reduce sleep quality and increase morning tiredness and insomnia."

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The research was carried out by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is published in the October issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

See also: Too Hot To Sleep? Our Top Tips To Beat The Heat