It is very common to have difficulty sleeping. Our sleep can be affected by our environment, our physical health or psychological issues such as stress, worry and low mood.
Knowing that sleep is important can cause its own problems. It’s difficult to force yourself to sleep. The harder we try the less likely we will sleep. Rather than try to sleep it’s better to focus on resting. If we focus our mind on something that doesn’t make us stressed then, even if we don’t sleep, at least we will be resting.
We’ve included ten tips on sleep from ‘The Sleep Council that can help you have a more restful night. There are also some relaxation exercises at the end of the article that can be used to help us sleep. However, it’s important to be flexible with these suggestions.
If you’ve been struggling with sleep for a while then you may have tried all of the tips below and many more. We recommend the following book for advice on how to stop struggling with sleep so that sleep comes more naturally: The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night.
If you would like to meet someone to discuss any problems that might be causing you to lose sleep please contact us.
1. Keep Regular Hours
Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better. Choose a time when you’re most likely to feel sleepy.
2. Create A Restful Sleeping Environment
Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep. Keep it as quiet and dark as possible. It should be neither too hot nor too cold. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled so that the bedroom environment helps you to fall (and stay) asleep.
3. Make Sure That Your Bed Is Comfortable
It’s difficult to get restful sleep on a mattress that’s too soft or too hard, or a bed that’s too small or old. If you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you, consider moving it somewhere else if it often makes noise in the night.
4. Exercise Regularly
Moderate exercise on a regular basis, such as swimming or walking, can help relieve some of the tension built up over the day. Make sure that you don’t do vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, however, as it may keep you awake.
5. Less Caffeine
Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee, especially in the evening. They interfere with the process of falling asleep, and they prevent deep sleep. The effects of caffeine can last a long time (up to 24 hours), so the chances of it affecting sleep are significant. Instead, have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea.
6. Don’t Over-Indulge
Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night.
7. Don’t Smoke
It’s bad for sleep. Smokers take longer to fall asleep, they wake up more frequently, and they often have more disrupted sleep.
8. Try To Relax Before Going To Bed
Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle yoga to relax the mind and body. There are some relaxation exercises at the end of this article.
9. Write Away Your Worries
Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day. If you tend to lie in bed thinking about tomorrow’s tasks, set aside time before bedtime to review the day and make plans for the next day. The goal is to avoid doing these things when you’re in bed, trying to sleep.
10. Don’t Worry In Bed
If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then return to bed.
It can sometimes be difficult to make these changes on your own. Please contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.
Relaxation is a very useful skill to develop. If you are feeling relaxed you are much more likely to sleep and even if you don’t sleep at least you are resting. Much like any other skill it takes time to learn and you get better with practice. Please see our page on relaxation exercises for more information.
Any questions or comments?
Did you find this article helpful? If you have any questions on this topic write them in comments section at the bottom of this page and I’ll reply to you as soon as possible. It would also be good to read any comments or opinions you may have.
It can sometimes be difficult to make these changes on your own. Please contact me if you would like to arrange an appointment.
Further Information …
I’ve included some links to websites that I have found useful below:
This section of the UK’s National Health Service website gives advice on sleep. It includes pages for both adults and children.
This page from the NHS discusses Insomnia (trouble getting to sleep) and what can be done about it.
Mind (UK Charity) Guide to Sleep Problems
Information from the UK Charity on Mind on how to improve your sleep.
The Stanford Centre for Sleep Sciences and Medicine
The Stanford Centre for Sleep Sciences and Medicine – is a research centre at the well known American university.
Royal College of Psychiatrists Guide to Sleeping Well
This page is written by the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists but is intended to be useful for everyone.
This is the website of a charity in the USA. The pages are available in Malay and Chinese.