This could be useful if:
- You're often unable to sleep
- The strategies you normally use to get to sleep aren't working
- You're interested in finding a good sleeping routine
- You want to help a friend with sleep problems
Most people need between seven and nine hours sleep a night. Depression, anxiety, medication and other factors can mean that you don't get the sleep you need. To find out more about reasons people find it hard to sleep, check out our factsheet on sleeping issues.
Getting good sleep
The following is a list of tips and tools a lot of people find helpful in getting good sleep:
- Stick to a routine of waking at the same time every day, and going to bed at the same time each night.
- Lay off the alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine before bed, as they can make it harder to get to sleep, or cause your sleep to be disrupted.
- Try to reduce your TV or computer time in the evenings – artificial light can trick your body into staying awake.
- Try not to nap during the day, as this'll make it harder to sleep in the evening.
- Exercise first thing in the morning, outdoors. Sunlight can help reset your body clock.
- Learn relaxation and meditation techniques to help you switch you mind off in the evenings.
They've been tried and tested, but not all of them will work for everyone. If you're really struggling, the best and easiest way to work out how to get sleep is by working with a doctor, counsellor, psychologist or sleep specialist.
Getting good help
If you're finding it difficult to sleep, and that the tactics you're trying aren't working, talk to your doctor about strategies. A doctor or other health professional can work with you to amend your routine, diet, exercise, medication and thinking until you arrive at something that works.