Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
1. Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
Check medications with your Pharmacist. Maintain a regular sleep routine 7 days a week – bedtime and waking up. Stop clock-watching – take it out of your bedroom or turn it around. Avoid daytime naps. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and stimulants in the evening. Eat dinner at least 2 hours before sleep. Exercise regularly – at least 3 hours before sleep. Avoid screens before bedtime.
2. Create a Relaxing Evening Routine
Write down thoughts and concerns. Set a time the next day to plan what you will do about them. Do a relaxing activity before bedtime. Have a warm bath or shower. Plan for associating bed with sleep. Make your bedroom as comfortable, dark and quiet as you can. Go to bed when sleepy. Make sure your bedroom is only for sleep and intimacy. If you cannot sleep you, the relaxing bedroom environment will help you manage the next day even though you may be tired.
3. If you are Still Struggling to Sleep
If you don’t fall asleep in 15 – 20 mins get up out of bed and do something relaxing or boring – go back to bed when you are tired. Be strict with yourself about not worrying – at 2am things can look bleak. Focus on breathing deeply so your tummy rises and falls. Use meditation, visualisation and mindfulness. Tense and relax your muscles working up from your feet to your shoulders, jaw and head. Counselling can be helpful.
4. Should You Get Some Sleeping Pills?
Sleeping pills are an option for some situations, mainly as a short-term measure. Sleeping pills can be effective for short periods when you are so distressed that you cannot sleep at all. You can very quickly lose the confidence to fall asleep without them. They can be addictive. The longer you take sleeping pills the more likely you are to become dependent on them. CBT for insomnia has been shown to be more effective than taking sleeping pills. A recommended online CBT for insomnia programme can be found here.
5. Sleep and Safety
Do you get sleepy while driving? Do you have difficulty staying awake? Do you snore? Sleep problems and snoring can seriously affect your safety and health. Discuss your sleep with your doctor or health professional.
For more information check out these sites:
Reviewed by Dr Antonio Fernando, University of Auckland, April 2015
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