#Wellbeing series: A guide to how you can get a better night’s sleep

Sleep Well – A guide to how you can get a better night’s sleep

Buzz Manchester Health & Wellbeing Service

What is a sleep problem?

It is common to sometimes not get enough sleep or have a bad night’s sleep but if it goes over two weeks, it can become a sleep problem

Signs that you could have a problem:

  • Lie awake and aren’t able to fall asleep
  • Aren’t able to stay asleep
  • Wake up too early in the morning 
  • Wake up during the night 
  • Don’t feel refreshed when you wake up
  • Sleep too much
  • Have a health condition that affects your sleep 

Why do you need a good night’s sleep?

It gives you the rest you need. It is also vital for your health and wellbeing.

During sleep:

  • Your brain can recover and revive itself
  • Your brain makes sense of the day and stores your memories
  • It helps you have new insights and create ideas
  • Your mind can unwind and de-stress.it can aldo restore mental and emotional wellbeing
  • Your body builds and mends itself 
  • It allows you to recover from illness 

How much sleep do you need?

However the amount of sleep people need varies from person to person. Some people are quite happy with 4 to 5 hours each night while others need 9-10 hours a night. 

How does your body know when to sleep?

Your sleep-wake pattern is controlled by the circadian rhythm also known as ‘body clock’ and it manages your body’s sleep patterns and usually follows a roughly 24-hour cycle.

Your brain releases and reduces the hormone melatonin to make you sleepy and to start waking you up when it gets lighter. 

What can cause sleep problems?

Bedroom environment

 – an uncomfortable bed or the temperature of the room can make it harder to fall asleep / There can also be other disruptions such as noisy neighbours or living on a busy road

Bedtime routine 

– what you do before bed can make it harder to switch your brain off and makes you more alert which can make it difficult to drift off to sleep such as watching TV or using a phone.

Stressful life events

 – it is very common to suffer from a poor night’s sleep if you are going through a hard time or have been through a loss in your life but over time your sleep pattern should return to normal.

Mental and emotional health

 – your feeling and emotions can affect your sleep too. Feelings of worry, anger, or guilt can keep your mind racing late at night.

Physical health problems

 – if you are ill or injured you need more sleep than normal to help you recover 

– Pain or discomfort can cause disruption to your sleep pattern to your sleep pattern

Unhealthy lifestyle

 – poor diet and little activity can lead to poor sleep and it isn’t just about what you eat but when you eat


– Some medicines can disrupt your sleep. They can stop you from falling asleep and staying asleep or make you feel sleepy. 

– Sleeping tablets are not always the solution and can make things worse

Alcohol and drugs 

– Drinking alcohol can make you feel sleepy, even a few drinks can affect how well you sleep, disrupting your sleep cycle

– Using drugs such as speed, cocaine and ecstasy can disturb sleepy, they can give you nightmares and keep you awake 

No routine

– It is harder to sleep well if your day has little structure. 

Disrupted routine 

– If you have to be awake during the night, it can disrupt your body clock.

Recognising sleep problems

Poor sleep can affect your thoughts, emotions, behaviour and body. It can also impact the quality of like and those around you.

You feel – annoyed more easily, aggressive, low in mood

Your mind is – racing/difficult to switch off, unable to control or stop worrying

Your thoughts might be – can’t think straight, can’t concentrate and focus, become forgetful 

You might behave by – napping during the day, finding it hard to stay awake during day, finding it hard to do daily tasks like housework, snapping at people or your pet

Your body symptoms are – feeling sick, headaches, little energy, tired, tearful, heart racing


What might happen to your wellbeing in the long-term?

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes 
  • Increase in weight

Poor sleeping habits 

  • No bedtime routine
  • Going to bed late
  • Getting up late
  • Nap during day
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Exercise late at night
  • Use a computer and/or watch TV in the bedroom
  • Drink caffeine drinks in the evening 
  • Eat late at night
  • Eat lots of fatty or spicy food, drink alcohol close to bedtime

Treat it

  • Have the right room temperature
  • Light level – dark helps you feel sleepy
  • Fresh air promotes sleep
  • Bed and pillow comfort
  • Distractions – have your bedroom just for sleep and intimate moments 
  • Noise 
  • Proper bedtime routine 
    • Spend less time awake in bed
    • Dont try to fall asleep 
    • Relaxation
    • Avoid clock watching 
    • Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down

Six steps to problem solving 

  • What is the problem? – identify a problem you want to tackle
  • What could work? – come up with as many ideas as you possibly can
  • Work out the good/bad – work out what is good about each solution and then what is bad about each solution 
  • What will you try? – choose the one that seems to be the best. Look at things that are good or bad about each solution to help you decide.
  • What will you do? – include what you are going to do and when you plan to do it.
  • What happened? – review what happened and see how well it worked

Many things can improve sleep such as:

  • Avoid napping during the day
  • Physical activity
  • Balanced diet
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink and avoid smoking at least one hour before going to bed.
  • Try sleep herbal remedies 

Relaxation skills

Life can be very hectic. We often do not allow our bodies to unwind. This can make it harder to fall asleep at night. 

These could include:

  • Listening to music that soothes you
  • Listening to relaxation or meditation tracks
  • Reading a book or magazine that relaxes you
  • Doing something creative 
  • Try some gentle exercises 
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Breathing exercises 

For a full guide visit: https://d1jw0l0b625fbx.cloudfront.net/docs/Sleep-Well-December-2016.pdf

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