Things you can do to help

It is normal to experience disturbed sleep from time to time, especially at times of stress. Below are some useful tips on what you can do and what to avoid, in order to establish a sleeping pattern.

  • Stick to a routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. Getting up earlier will help you to feel tired earlier. Avoid naps as they will disrupt your routine.
  • Only go to bed if you’re tired. If you’re not tired do something that you find relaxing to wind down. Make sure you still get up at the same time the next day.
  • Develop a bed time routine. Always take time to relax and wind down before bed. Your routine could include a relaxing bath, a malty drink e.g. Horlicks, reading or listening to quiet music.
  • Check your bedroom. Make sure your room is quiet, comfortable and the right temperature. If your bed is uncomfortable that could interfere with your sleep.
  • Exercise. Taking regular gentle exercise during the day can lead to better sleep. It doesn’t help if it is too close to bed time.
  • Avoid Challenging Activity. Do not do anything that its physically or mentally challenging in the 90 minutes before bed. This will make it more difficult for you to get off to sleep.
  • Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine and Smoking in the 90 minutes before bed. These substances are stimulants and will keep you awake.
  • Avoid eating a big meal. Eating a big meal in the hour before bed will make it harder to get to sleep.
  • Don’t just lie there. If you can’t sleep and can’t rest then get up and do something relaxing for half an hour. It is very frustrating to be unable to get to sleep. It may be easier to get to sleep after half an hour relaxing.
  • Worrying about sleep. It is common that worrying about not getting to sleep can actually keep us awake. If this is a problem, enjoy resting in bed and don’t worry about the quantity of sleep. You could also try turning any clocks the other way.

In addition there are self help books available from your local library on a range of common mental health problems and on sleep. Click here to be took to the Books on Prescription page.

The NHS Choices webpage on Insomnia is also a great resource if you are having sleep problems.

If you have any concerns about a sleeping problem you should consult your GP who will be able to advise you further.

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Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

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