What can you do when you can’t sleep?

Even when you’re really exhausted, do you still struggle to get to sleep? Maybe you wake up in the night and lay there anxiously watching the clock? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact around 16 million of us in the UK suffer with insomnia regularly.

Insomnia can be a real problem, making it hard to get through the day. Long term sleep deprivation can zap your energy, put you in a bad mood and even lead to physical and mental health issues, so sorting it out is vital.

A good place to start is by making sure you have at least 30 minutes of quiet “winding down” time before you go to bed. Dim the lights slightly and have a nice relaxing bath or read a book. Also make sure any electronic devices which are close to you, such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets, are switched off. This is because when they’re on, the light from their screens can put your brain in daytime mode so making it harder to nod off. Finally, slow your mind down by doing some meditation or deep breathing exercises, or perhaps some light yoga.

Once you get into bed, if you still haven’t fallen asleep within 20 minutes then get up and go back to whatever it was you were doing to relax. Lying in bed awake can make your insomnia worse by creating an unhealthy link between your bedroom and being awake. The place where you sleep should conjure up sleepy feelings and make you want to rest.

One more good tip is to try and wake up at the same time every day. Even if you’ve had a long night of lying awake and you’re tired the next day, resist the urge to sleep in or doze off on the sofa as you’re likely to simply end up feeling jetlagged. It’s far better to adjust your body clock more naturally.

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