Tips for coping with sleep problems
Sleep problems – even quite mild ones – can damage your wellbeing and quality of life. Trying some of these tips may help you to get the sleep you need.
Make your bedroom a calm space
Make sure the light, temperature and sound level suits you. Cool, dark and quiet usually works. Turn off electrical screens, TVs, computers and phones all stimulate your brain, making it hard to relax.
Try a breathing technique
In a comfortable position, breathe in deeply; then breathe out slowly – making your out-breath longer than your in-breath. Repeat until you feel relaxed.
Notice what you eat and drink
Caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods may give short-term help, but they can all disturb your sleep patterns.
Check for a physical cause
- Pain, illness or other unknown physical problems can disturb your sleep.
- Visit your GP to investigate potential causes and get help with treating them.
- Try to do some exercise. This will improve your sleep, as long as it’s not late in the evening.
- Talk to your partner: snoring, preferred side of the bed and other common issues can often be easily resolved.
Plan your day
Try to do more worrying tasks early in the day and relaxing ones later. Before bed, write down troubling thoughts to ‘get rid of them’.
Keep a sleep diary
This may help you spot patterns to your everyday habits and your sleep, and what might be causing you problems. You can find diaries to fill in, on the internet.
Change your medication
Many drugs, particularly common ones for mental health problems, can affect your sleep. If this is the case, talk to your GP to discuss alternatives.
Published by Mind 2013
To be revised 2015