Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene


I'd promised to message a couple of people with any useful stuff from the part of CBT sessions that focussed on sleep patterns - then I figured I may as well pass it on to everyone.

The first thing we covered was that the "8 hours a night" notion is a myth. People differ wildly, and individuals can be anywhere between 4 hours and 10 hours a night in terms of how much sleep they need.

We covered three aspects....environment, behaviour and thinking, which contribute to how well you sleep.

Environment - cooler than usual room temperature, well ventilated, and obviously dark and quiet is generally best. A cold room is better than a hot room because your body temperature drops when you sleep anyway, so getting colder can trick your brain.

Behaviour - try and keep to the same times every day. If you don't sleep "enough" one night, don't lie in cause that just screws up your body clock more. Exercise during the day but not late at night if possible, apparently between 4 and 6 pm is optimum. If you can't sleep, get up and do something relaxing for a while, and if you wake up in the night don't look at a clock. Leave your bedroom as just a bedroom if you can, don't do other stuff like watch TV in there if possible (the handout actually says "keep your bed for sleep and sex" - I wish!!!).

Thinking - try and use mindfulness exercises if you can't sleep from anxiety. If there's any specific anxieties, write them down so there are there to deal with in the morning.

Hope that's useful. I thought I'd at least put a sleepy picture up in case it wasn't :)

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7 Replies

  • Oh dear, it's no wonder my nights are so troubled! The amount of sleep I have ranges from four to ten hours, depending on whether I can be bothered to get up in the morning! When I'm not in work I have a nana nap every single afternoon. I just have to!

    The last thing I do before falling asleep is mess round on my iPad for an hour, which means my brain is completely wired.

    My bedroom is nothing like a bedroom. Decorative items include a ladder, clothes' horse, ironing board, suitcase, Wendy house, roll of carpet and ironing pile.

    I leave the heating on because I forget to turn it off which means I wake in the middle of the night thinking I'm somewhere in Africa.

    I have no curtains because the pole fell down , which means the light comes straight through the blinds. I also live on a dual carriageway and get woken by the traffic at crazy o'clock most days!

    I sleep with the door wide open because I get worried that I won't hear the kids if they wake up, so my room is not even private! Most mornings Katie appears with first light, climbs in my bed with all her dolls and teddies, so my last hour of sleep is completely disturbed anyway.

    Combine all that with the fact I have very vivid dreams most nights anyway, I haven't really got a hope have I! I think I need to take careful note of your advice!

  • Those are really useful hints. I actually have started to wear a sleep mask and find it really good. Keeps it all dark all night.... no lights peeping in.

    Thanks for those .... I do mostly what it says.Julie xx

  • Thanks for all the sleep tips. My problem is staying asleep. I get off to sleep but then wake up about 2/3 hours later and am wide awake. I toss and turn for ages and then get up and get a cup of tea and end up watching TV in bed. Therefore really tired the next day and then often doze off about 4 pm. Vicious circle. Is it the medication, the illness or just my age causing it.??

  • writing down issues before trying to sleep is something i think i will have to do more of,

    else i end up spending 20 minutes going through a list of stuff i need to do the next day, and worrying about whether i will remember it.

  • I've learned I'm a 9.5 hour sleeper. My room radiator is on the very lowest setting. My do something relaxing is listening to audiobooks. I don't use duvets because I can't regulate my temperature well enough - I use cotton sheets and woollen blankets. I have a memory foam pillow. My worst distraction is my cats!

  • 'My worst distraction is my cats' I love this. :) Because it is so relatable. I recently put soft furry blanket on the end of my bed and both the cats like it so much they have taken to sleeping on it on the end of my bed, meaning I have no room to put my feet. Usually I move them on the far end of each side (not without hearing them complaint', and hope they stay put! I will allow them in there as long as they stay still.


    Great post by the way. :) Looks like I've got myself into some pretty inadvisable sleeping habits.


  • This ones much younger foster brother thinks that a human stirring is a human needing to stroke a cat. And he stands ON TOP OF YOU until he gets his stroke