Sleep is an essential part of feeling physically and mentally well, but almost everyone experiences problems sleeping at some time in their lives.
When someone has difficulty in sleeping it can affect them quite badly. They can find that they are falling asleep during the day and can't make decisions as they used to. Persistent sleeping difficulties and lack of sleep can affect mood, motivation and concentration.
Sleep disruption is common, especially during times when you may be feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety, depression, stress and heightened emotions may significantly interfere with your sleep, especially with getting off to sleep.
Most problems with insomnia (lack of sleep) can be easily sorted out without needing to consult the doctor. It can be caused by being uncomfortable in bed, lack of exercise during the day, eating too much late at night, smoking and drinking, too much tea, coffee and alcohol. All of these causes can be overcome by changes in our habits.
What can help?
- Pattern - Get a regular sleep pattern, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Use your bed only for sleeping. Do not read, eat or watch TV in bed unless you are sure by your past experience that these activities help you to sleep
- Comfort - It is important that you are comfortable. Make sure you bed is comfortable and ensure that you are not too hot or cold
- Exercise - Make sure you get enough exercise during the day
- Drinks – Reduce the amount of caffeine loaded drinks, such as coffee and cola you drink and avoid alcohol as it can severely interfere with sleep patterns
- Relax – Try to spend time before bed relaxing
- Eating – Try not to eat large amounts of food late at night
- Napping – Try not to nap during the day
- Get out of bed – If you have not fallen asleep within about 20 minutes, or if you wake up and cannot get back to sleep, then get out of bed and do something else until you are ready to sleep
- Sleeping tablets may help short term but they do not deal with the cause of the problem and are not a long term solution
Contact your GP
Contact the University Counselling and Mental Health Support Team
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