Lots of people have a problem getting to sleep. If you have stopped drinking, maybe you are finding it difficult to sleep. The first thing to remember is that it does not help to worry about it. You may feel irritable and tired as a result of not sleeping, but it is unlikely to cause any long term harm. If you wake in the night, instead of worrying DO something, listen to the radio, read a book, maybe make a cup of weak tea or hot milk.
Since our bodies go in cycles, you will eventually reach a more sleepy period. Sleep is an excellent self-regulating system. You will eventually sleep when the body knows it has to do so.
Tips that some people find helpful
- For a while train yourself to get to bed at the same time each evening and out of bed at the same time each morning – preferably reasonably early. The body has approximately a twenty four hour clock. In the day-time the body temperature rises. At night-time it falls. This means that the body expects to sleep at regular times.
- Use an alarm clock and get up as soon as it goes off. Remember regular rising helps to ensure that you will fall asleep earlier. After a short while doing this you should feel better – but give yourself a chance.
- Don’t smoke or take drugs (unless your G.P. especially suggests aids to sleeping) including alcohol, tea, coffee or cola immediately before getting into bed. All these release the hormone adrenaline. This increases your temperature and activity, and counteracts the effect of body building hormones which are released while we sleep. These body building hormones repair the tissues we use during the day and are essential for they help us to feel refreshed and lively during the coming day.
- Make sure that you take adequate physical exercise each day or during the early evening.
- If you feel tired during the day a short cat-nap can be helpful but don’t allow yourself to sleep heavily or you will spoil the night’s sleep. When trying to get back to a regular sleeping pattern, it is best not to cat-nap.
- Watch television, or cultivate a hobby that will help you to unwind before going to bed. Late night horror films are not everyone’s cup of tea.
- A warm drink before going to bed may help (avoid tea or coffee unless very weak). Some people find it useful to take a flask and have it by their bedsides so they can pour themselves a drink if they wake in the night, although sometimes the activity of going to make a drink can be beneficial.
- Have you tried a warm bath before getting into bed? Many people find this relaxing.
- Is your bed comfortable? And what about the pillows? You may not have noticed these for a long while. Is it time to consider buying more suitable ones?
- Go to bed in a warm room. Contrary to what some people say, it may sometimes be more helpful to close the window (especially in winter).
- If you do not already use them, think about taking a hot-water bottle to bed and maybe wearing bed-socks.
- By trial and error, find out the most comfortable position for your body in your bed.
- As soon as you are comfortable try to do some deep breathing. Breathe in deeply so that your stomach distends with air, and then let it out gently. Repeat this several times it will help you relax and clear your mind.
- Try these tips and then forget you have a sleep problem. If you wake up, don’t worry about it. The next night may be better.