Explains insomnia and other sleep problems, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.
There's a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.
"Poor sleep leads to worrying. Worrying leads to poor sleep. Worrying about sleep is like your mind trying to fight itself. That's a horrible place to be."
You may find a sleep problem can lead you to:
"For me sleep problems are a tell-tale sign of declining mental health. The worse I sleep, the less I feel able to cope during the day. The less I am coping, the worse I seem to sleep."
This page covers some tips and ideas to help you get good sleep. Remember, you might need to try a few different things before you find what works for you:
"Sometimes the methods that I've used before to help me sleep won't work as well, and that's OK, things change. You just need to try different things until you find what works again."
Watch Jonny Benjamin talk about how his mental health affects his sleep, and how he has learned to manage it.
Try to establish a regular sleeping pattern by going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day. Go to bed only when you feel tired enough to sleep. Then get up at your usual time. This may mean you will spend less time actually in bed, but more of the time in bed asleep.
"Routine, routine, routine. Preparing your brain and body for sleep, letting yourself know that it's time to wind down. Then in the morning set a time to get up and stick to it no matter what."
You may find a relaxation routine can help you prepare for sleep. There are several things you can try:
You may find it difficult to work out what's affecting your sleep. A sleep diary involves recording information about your sleep habits to help you understand your sleep problem and what's affecting it. If you want to, you can show it to professionals you're working with, so you can work together to understand the problem you're having.
You can create your own diary using an online template – there's an example on the NHS Choices Live Well website.
"I found meditation and writing down my feelings in a little notebook before I settled down for bed really helped."
"I avoid my phone or TV – instead I listen to a meditation podcast or read a book."
Caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods may give short-term help but they can all disturb your sleep patterns. For details see our information on food and mood.
Doing regular physical activity can also help you sleep, as it makes you more physically tired – particularly if you exercise outdoors. This doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise – any activity, for example housework, gardening or going for a walk, can help. See our information on physical activity, sport and mental health.
"When I'm suffering from sleeping problems it's usually the result of not getting enough physical exercise and staying in bed."
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. See our pages on seeking help for advice on speaking to your doctor.
You don't have to do it all by yourself. You might want to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about what you're experiencing and the treatment options available, such as:
"Losing sleep is extremely frustrating but I sleep much better now since going to the GP and being prescribed medication."
See our pages on seeking help for more on how to speak to your doctor and having your say in your treatment. Mind also offers a few different ways for you to start seeking help:
This information was published in November 2016. We will revise it in 2019.
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