There are many reasons for
not sleeping well which may include distress, physical discomfort or physical
Sleep needs vary. A
baby starts life needing 16 hours or so of sleep each day, and the time we need
for sleep decreases as we get older, so that adults, and particularly older
adults may only need 4-6 hours a night. People's needs vary, but most
people feel they need 7-8 hours, whilst others feel they need 9-10 hours a
We might have difficulty
getting off to sleep, wake up frequently during the night, or wake early in the
morning and not be able to get back to sleep. These all result in our
feeling that we haven't slept enough - we feel tired, tense and are likely to
worry about not sleeping. This worry can then make it even harder for us
to sleep well.
If you have trouble sleeping, there are some
things you can do to help yourself get a good night’s rest. These include
making changes in:
any helpful changes you can make?
Bedroom too light (or dark)
Bedroom too hot or too cold
Bedroom too noisy
Bed too uncomfortable
Partner keeping you awake? (snoring,
go without sleep for a long time keep to a regular pattern of going to bed and
getting up at the same time every day, whether you are tired or not
Keep bed for sleep and sex. Don't use
it for watching television, using computer etc.
some regular exercise during the day.Try some regular
swimming or walking. Avoid exercise late in the evening.
down on caffeine (tea, coffee, some soft drinks) in the evening.Try a milky drink instead.
drink a lot of alcohol.It may help you fall
asleep, but you will almost certainly wake up during the night.
eat or drink a lot late at night.Try to have
your evening meal early rather than late.
youve had a bad night, resist the temptation to sleep the next day it will
make it harder to get off to sleep the following night.
something is troubling you and there is nothing you can do about it right away, try
writing it down before going to bed and then tell yourself to deal with it tomorrow.
If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it.Get up and do something you find relaxing like
reading or listening to quiet music.
After a while you should feel tired enough to go to bed again.
sleep diary for a week (click
here) - when complete, you can look back and notice what helps you sleep
better and what doesn't, so you can make positive changes and do more of what
helps, and less of what doesn't. If nothing seemed to help, try something
Speak to your doctor about your
medication and how that might be affecting your sleep.
Worrying about not sleeping will
keep you awake! Rather than put your focus of attention on the worrying
thoughts, notice that they are just thoughts, then put your attention somewhere
restful, use imagery,
mindful breathing, or your relaxation technique.
Tell yourself that worrying about
it will not help, and that you probably are getting enough, just less than you
think you need. Our needs change as we get older.
If you're worrying about a
particular problem, write it down, and tell yourself you can sort it in the