How can I improve my sleep?
Problems with sleep can affect how you feel physically and mentally. And how you feel can also affect how you sleep. Certain medications can also affect your sleep, causing you to sleep too much or not enough.
To get better sleep, you can try:
• Relaxing before bed with a warm bath, reading a book or listening to the radio
• Exercising regularly but avoiding vigorous exercise too close to bedtime
• Cutting down on caffeine, especially in the evening
• Avoiding too much food or alcohol late at night
• Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day
• Having a bedroom that is dark and quiet
• Not having a TV in the bedroom
If you can’t get to sleep, you could up and do something relaxing. Then go back to bed when you feel sleepy.
If you regularly have problems sleeping, then you can discuss this with your GP. Sometimes, GPs or psychiatrists may offer you medication to help you sleep. But medication for sleep is only recommended as a short-term solution. Your GP or psychiatrist should give you information about medication, but you can ask them questions too.
You might find trying to make some of the changes above help to make longer lasting improvements to your sleep.
The following apps and websites aim to help you improve sleep:
• Sleepio. A 6-week online programme designed by sleep experts and based on cognitive and behavioural techniques to help combat poor sleep. Sleepio is evidence based and is recommended by the NHS. It is available for free to all residents of North Hampshire and The Thames Valley, who can access the programme either via their GP or directly at www.sleepio.com/nhs. If you don't live in those areas and would like to enquire about accessing Sleepio you can email them.
• Sleepstation. Sleepstation is free with a GP referral. It’s recommended by the NHS. It is a 6-week online course for people who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night. The course is tailored to your needs, using the information you provide. It gives you access to a team of sleep experts who will offer helpful advice and support throughout.
NHS information: www.nhs.uk/apps-library/sleepstation
• Pzizz. Pzizz is an app to help you fall asleep fast, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed. It’s recommended by the NHS. It’s free to download with in app purchases.
NHS information: www.nhs.uk/apps-library/pzizz
• Mental Health Foundation – How to Sleep better: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-sleep-better
• NHS self-help guide on Sleeping Problems: https://web.ntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp
© Rethink Mental Illness 2022
Last updated January 2021
Next update January 2024
Version number 1
Did this help?
We’d love to know if this information helped you. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org