Sleeping well is a habit you can teach yourself! Even small changes can have a big impact. Start today by following our tips:
Take care of your body
- Don’t drink caffeine after 4 pm: no coffee, tea, coca-cola
- Don’t eat a big or spicy meal late in the evening
- Don’t go to bed hungry
- Avoid drinking alcohol as it interferes with your sleep
Physical exercise, such as a walking, in the late afternoon can help you make yourself tired and help you sleep. Try to do some exercise every day.
Sleeping at night-time only, no daytime naps, no matter how tired you feel. Naps keep the problem going by making it harder to get to sleep the next night.
Having a regular bedtime routine teaches your body when it is time to go to sleep.
- Have a soothing drink, like caffeine-free camomile tea or a milky drink
- Have a relaxing bath, or a routine of washing your face and brushing your teeth
- Go to bed at the same time each night
- When in bed think of nice and soothing things. E.g. think of five nice/positive things that happened that day, they might be big or small, such as a nice conversation with a friend, seeing the sunshine, or listening to nice music on the radio.
- Do a relaxed breathing exercise, one hand on the stomach the other on your chest, deliberately slow your breathing, breathe deeply in your stomach instead of high in your chest.
- Try and wake up the same time every day, even in the weekends and even if this is tiring to begin with.
Coping with nightmares and bad dreams can be difficult. Some people don’t like relaxation before sleeping, or are scared of letting go. If that is you, try these preparation techniques instead:
- Prepare yourself in case you have nightmares or bad dreams by thinking of a nightmare/bad dream then think of a different ending for it. Practice the new, and better, ending many times before going to sleep.
- Before going to sleep prepare to re-orient yourself when you wake up from a nightmare/bad dream.
- Remind yourself that you are at home, that you are safe. Imagine your street, bushes, local shops and such.
- Put a damp towel or a bowl of water by the bed to splash your face, place a special object by your bed, such as a picture, or even a small soft toy.
- Practice imagining yourself waking up from a bad dream, reorienting yourself to the present, to safety by splashing your face with some water, touching special object (like a small soft toy), having a bottle of rose or lavender essential oil to small, going to the window to see the surroundings.
- When you wake up from a nightmare/bad dream – move your body if you can and reorient yourself immediately! Touching an object, splashing your face with some water, going to the window, talk to yourself in a reassuring way.
Make your bedroom a pleasant and comfortable place to be
- Get a nightlight
- Keep your bedroom clean and tidy
- Introduce pleasant smells, such as a drop of lavender oil onto the pillow
- Get some extra pillows
- Make sure that your house is safe. E.g. doors locked, windows closed.
Remember! Bed is only for sleeping, so if you can’t sleep after 30 minutes, get up and do another activity elsewhere. Such as reading or listening to music. Avoid TV, tablets and phones, as it can wake you up more.After 15 minutes return to your bed again, and try to sleep again. If you still can’t sleep after 30 minutes, get up again. Repeat this routine as many times as necessary and only use your bed for sleeping.