Most people have problems sleeping from time to time. Sleep problems often start after an upsetting life event, or they can also be a result of your lifestyle. Many psychological problems contribute to upset sleep. These include anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, shame and stress. Physical problems such as pain and breathlessness can also stop you sleeping. A key to start getting back into a regular sleep cycle is often to set up regular sleep routines, and to try tackle the underlying causes of poor sleep.


1. Bed is for sleep and sex only. Try to avoid doing other things like watching TV.

2. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something until you are tired.

3. If you’re lying awake worrying, go downstairs and write your worries down to deal with tomorrow. 

4. Adopt a regular bedtime and getting up time.

5. Address physical and practical issues e.g. light / noise / temperature.

6. Reduce general life pressures.

7. Set aside a wind-down time each evening.

8. DON’T drink and smoke ‘to calm your nerves’ before bed. 

9. DON’T do physical or mental exercise before bed.

10. DON’T read or watch TV in bed.

11. DON’T sleep in or nap during the day.

12. DON’T drink too much tea / coffee / cola drinksthey just wake you up.

13. Leave your phone switched off or even better downstairs.

14. If you have to have your phone by your bed, go into airplane mode, or mute it so you don’t wake up with each notification.

Further Reading

The Worry Box book for Adults and the Worry Box for Young People. 

Improving sleep module (Optional modules section).

Tension Control Training Resources (relaxation).

All available at

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