Tips for coping with sleep problems

Brief tips on how to cope with sleep problems.

Your stories

How important is sleep to your mental health?

How important is sleep to your mental health?

Posted on 05/08/2014

Sleeping with anxiety

Annie blogs about not being able to switch off and sleep, and how she copes with anxiety.

Posted on 18/04/2013

Tips for coping with sleep problems

Sleep problems – even quite mild ones – can damage your wellbeing and quality of life. Trying some of these tips may help you to get the sleep you need.

Make your bedroom a calm space

Make sure the light, temperature and sound level suits you. Cool, dark and quiet usually works. Turn off electrical screens, TVs, computers and phones all stimulate your brain, making it hard to relax.

Try a breathing technique

In a comfortable position, breathe in deeply; then breathe out slowly – making your out-breath longer than your in-breath. Repeat until you feel relaxed.

Notice what you eat and drink

Caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods may give short-term help, but they can all disturb your sleep patterns.

Check for a physical cause

  • Pain, illness or other unknown physical problems can disturb your sleep.
  • Visit your GP to investigate potential causes and get help with treating them.
  • Try to do some exercise. This will improve your sleep, as long as it’s not late in the evening.
  • Talk to your partner: snoring, preferred side of the bed and other common issues can often be easily resolved.

Plan your day

Try to do more worrying tasks early in the day and relaxing ones later. Before bed, write down troubling thoughts to ‘get rid of them’.

Keep a sleep diary

This may help you spot patterns to your everyday habits and your sleep, and what might be causing you problems. You can find diaries to fill in, on the internet.

Change your medication

Many drugs, particularly common ones for mental health problems, can affect your sleep. If this is the case, talk to your GP to discuss alternatives.

Watch these mental health selfies for more tips on sleep

Published by Mind 2013
To be revised 2015
See our guidance on reproducing our information

Mental Health A-Z

Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

> Read our A-Z


Helping you to better understand and support people with mental health problems

> Find out more

Special offers

Check out our promotional offers on print and digital booklets, for a limited time only

> Visit our shop today