Most people will experience sleep difficulties at some time in their lives but there is some advice that may be able to help.


General Advice

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day - your body will adjust to the time you have set and be more prepared for when you should be awake or asleep
  • If you do need a nap, make it less than one hour and not in bed – 45 minutes on the sofa is perfect. Set an alarm!
  • When possible, avoid caffeine and alcohol between lunch and bedtime
  • Don’t eat a large meal before bed, although a small snack may avoid hunger disturbing your sleep
  • Wind down gradually over the evening - avoid any mentally demanding tasks up to 90 minutes before going to bed
  • Put the day to rest - don’t go to bed with thoughts on your mind which may keep you awake


Bedroom Environment

  • Your bedroom should be associated with relaxation, try soft lighting and relaxing music to make it as comfortable as possible
  • Do not carry out activities that can evoke intense negative emotions, even watching television can stir up fear, sadness or anger - so avoid having a TV in your bedroom
  • Move the clock so you cannot see the time - clock watching will only increase the pressure to sleep


What to do if you wake up in the middle of the night

  • Get up after 20 minutes of not sleeping - do not associate your bedroom with negative experiences such as lying awake
  • Never try to sleep as this will make it harder, instead try a relaxing activity (i.e. reading) which will keep your attention from worrying about the fact you are not yet sleeping
  • Return to bed when you feel tired but try not to stay awake for longer than 30-45 minutes
  • Don’t go over problems - there is nothing you can do about them in the middle of the night. If necessary, write them down and leave the list downstairs to think about the next day
  • Try repeating your going to bed routine
  • Anything between 4 and 10 hours sleep a night is normal, so you may have woken up because you have had all you need - anymore sleep could just end up making you feel more tired