What can I do to help myself?
The most important thing is to think about why you have a sleep problem. Is it because of worry, or is it a more persistent problem? You can read more about the causes of sleeping difficulties using the button below:Read about what can cause sleeping difficulties
Bedtime routine is important. We need to remind our brains that it’s time to switch off and take a break. Most people are helped by the following:
– Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, even on non-workdays. But don’t get too hung up on this, you will survive the occasional late night or lie in!
– Relaxing activity in the hour or so before sleep: a warm bath, reading, watching relaxing things on television. However, don’t watch or read for hours in bed.
– A cool sleeping environment; not cold but not too hot either.
– Dim lighting. Blackout blinds can help. Not everyone is comfortable sleeping in the dark, but if you do need a light, try using a dim bulb and put the light as low as possible (so it doesn’t shine on your face).
– Where possible, spend the waking day out of the bedroom. When we were babies, our parents spent a great deal of effort teaching us that the bed is for sleeping; we can undo that in later life. See point 3 below.
Most people find these things do not help:
– Watching action\horror films or playing similar themes of video games.
– Using nicotine or other stimulants before bedtime.
– Spending a lot of time in bed not sleeping. Teenagers and students are particularly vulnerable to this one and it was an issue for many during the COVID lockdowns. Working or gaming while on/in bed breaks the link in our minds between bed and sleeping and can lead to problems falling asleep later that night. If possible, try to do these things in a different room or at the least, in a different part of your bedroom. A chair on the opposite side of the room may be enough.
– “Chasing sleep”. While understandable, going to bed early ‘so I get more chance to fall asleep’ won’t work. You’ll just lie there staring at the ceiling. Unless you are so tired that you are falling asleep on the spot, stick to your usual bedtime.
Real Life Experience
If you’d like to share your real life experience, please email [email protected].
Content updated 26/06/2023