Sleep better and create more helpful sleep patterns

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Published on: 13th May 2021

We all know that sleep can have a big impact on how we feel. If we get too little sleep we can feel dreadful the next day. We might experience fatigue, struggle to concentrate and feel quite irritable. If we sleep too much, we may also feel lethargic the next day and lack motivation. It is really important for our wellbeing that we try to get a good sleep routine in place as this can positively impact how we feel.

What you can do to get more helpful sleep patterns?

Have a fixed bedtime and awakening time

This is helpful as it gets your body into a routine and it supports our circadian rhythm (our internal body clock). It can be difficult at first if we have irregular patterns of sleep, or napping in the day, but consistency is key! Stick to it as much as possible and soon your body will get into its natural routine.

Limit screen use before bed

Screens such as phones, tablets or TVs produce blue light, which suppresses the release of melatonin (a hormone that promotes sleep). Try to put your phone down or perhaps read instead of watching TV before you go to sleep. Some devices do also have an option to put on a ‘blue light filter’ which also can help reduce the amount of light produced however this doesn’t limit it completely.

Be mindful of when your last caffeinated drink and/or nicotine is before sleeping

Caffeine and nicotine are chemical stimulants and we may be using these as a way to keep us awake, especially if we haven’t been sleeping well. However this can quickly turn into a vicious cycle as we may be drinking caffeine to keep us awake but then the caffeine itself prevents us from obtaining the sleep needed that would have reduced the initial tiredness. We recommend no more than four caffeinated drinks a day and try to not have any caffeine or nicotine a few hours before you go to bed.

Keep your bed for sleep

It is really important that we associate our bed and our bedroom with feeling relaxed and where we sleep. Try to avoid using your bedroom as your office, a place where you eat and any other activities that you don’t associate with relaxing and rest.

Make your environment comfortable

Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature for you, your bedding is comfortable and generally your room feels relaxing. If you live in a noisy environment, try earplugs to block out the noise.

It is helpful periodically to reflect on our sleeping patterns and perhaps start to make small changes that can help improve our routines, quality of sleep and our mood.

For more advice on improving your sleep, visit NHS OneYou.

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