A few words on trying to get some proper sleep, and a few tips that might help if you’re struggling to do so.

Hello, and welcome to the spot on our site where we chat about wellbeing and mental health. No magic solutions are offered here, just a bit of a chinwag and hopefully the occasional bit of useful advice.

This week, a natter about sleep. It’s one of those topics that’s really easy to write about, but coming up with anything particularly useful is much simpler said than done. Lots of us have struggled with sleep in particular over the last year, even before Covid days (days that have done precious little for our collective anxieties).

The harsh bottom line is that when we struggle to get a decent night’s sleep, it has ongoing ramifications. Those who follow my early morning Twitter feed will have a flavour of how well I’m doing with it all. Gulp.

Still, where I’ve had successes in getting a bit of extra sleep, it’s by following a few basics. These aren’t foolproof, and I’m thinking of a few regular readers of this column – hugs to you – who stuff like this hasn’t worked for. But a few basics that are worth trying if you are struggling to drift off.

  • Routine is useful. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time each day if you can, and aim to get up roughly the same time.
  • Try not to do anything particularly exhausting or stimulating – steady – in the half hour or so before bed. One or two exceptions, but try and wind down gradually at the end of a day.
  • If you can, ween yourself off your screen. Reading a book is generally a better idea than watching iPlayer once you head to bed.
  • Keep lighting low. Get your body used to the idea that it’s nearly sleep time.
  • Don’t be afraid to get up if it’s not working. A few people recommend this. That if you’re bang awake, don’t fight it. Get up for 20 minutes, walk around, try and wind down again.
  • The occasional daytime nap can be useful, although not a long way. Particularly in a UK climate, it’s not a great habit to get into though.
  • Slow down your caffeine. Try and keep coffee and such like for the morning. Don’t knock back a pint or a big meal just before you go to bed. Give your body as little extra work to do.

These are just a few ideas. Some may work, some won’t. If any tips have worked for you that aren’t listed, then please feel free to add them.

Most of all though, you all take care and stay safe. This column will be back next Wednesday with more.

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