6) What do you do to help you sleep?

We all try different things to get a good nights sleep, but some of the things we think help can disturb your sleep.

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Select the sheep that you think will help you sleep.

Yes No
Relaxation techniques

  • Reading a book, relaxation exercise/ tape, listening to music or having a bath can help you unwind before you go to bed but it is best to do this outwith the bedroom.
  • It is common to over think and worry at night. This can stop us sleeping. Writing a to do list earlier in the day may prevent you worrying. (query – add link to stress).
  • We cannot make ourselves go to sleep. If you can’t sleep it is best to leave the bedroom and try an activity that helps you relax, then when you are feeling tired go to bed again.

  • Nicotine is a stimulant and will keep you awake.
  • It is also important not to smoke if you wake during the night and cannot get back to sleep. This can cause your body to wake up during the night for a cigarette.
Regular bedtime

  • A routine of going to bed at the same time each day and getting up at the same time each day will help regulate your `body clock`.
  • Napping during the day can disrupt this routine.

  • Drinking a lot of alcohol before you go to bed may help you fall asleep but it will later cause restlessness and cause you to wake.
  • It will also cause you to wake to go to the toilet.
Comfortable bedroom

  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom comfortable. Not too hot or too cold.
  • Try and keep the bedroom quiet.
  • Keep your bedroom dark.
  • Comfortable bed.
Caffeine is a stimulant which can be found in tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and cocoa. It can make us feel more awake so if taken too close to bedtime can increase the time it takes us to get to sleep and make sleep more disturbed. It is best to avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before going to bed.
Regular exercise, especially in daylight, can improve sleep but avoid exercise 4 hours before going to bed.
Heavy meal before bedtime

  • Taking a heavy meal before you go to bed will keep you awake as it causes your tummy to work overtime.
  • A light snack/ milky drink however can help some people sleep.
Don’t use gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets or laptops before going to bed as the blue light from them may over stimulate your brain and keep you awake.

Something to think about

Have you identified any habits that might be affecting your sleep? Habits can be hard to break, but it is worth giving it a go, as a good night’s sleep will help you keep well.

Key point

Remember, habits take time to develop so they may take time to break. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first time.