It is important to get a good night’s sleep.  Although it differs from person to person, most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night.  While you are sleeping your mind and body are recovering from the day’s activities, mending and restoring energy.  A lack of sleep will affect your mood, energy, memory, and your ability to focus and concentrate.  If you are not sleeping well it is important to tell your health care providers.

Some things you can do:

  • As much as possible, keep to a consistent sleep schedule.  Go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time every morning; including weekends and holidays.
  • Create your own pre-sleep routine.  Start getting ready for bed by turning off your television and computer at least an hour before you go to bed. Put on your comfy pajamas. Take care of your usual nighttime activities such as brushing your teeth and taking your medications. Then relax.  Read, do a crossword puzzle, listen to relaxing music, do some gentle stretching or try some relaxation exercises and then go to bed.
  • Your bed is for sleep and intimacy ONLY.  Other activities such as reading and watching television should be done elsewhere.
  • Keep your workspace - desk, laptop, whiteboard, To Do Lists - somewhere other your bedroom.
  • Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature. When possible, have a window open for some fresh air.
  • Keep your bedroom dark.
  • If you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 minutes, or you wake up at night and remain awake for more than 15 minutes, go to another room and do something relaxing. Then return to bed only when you’re sleepy.
  • Set some boundaries with your family and friends regarding telephone calls and interruptions.  For example, let them know that unless it’s an emergency, they shouldn’t call after 9pm.
  • Reduce or avoid caffeine.  If you love your coffee, keep it to just one or two cups in the morning.  No caffeine after lunch.
  • Avoid naps late in the afternoon and in the evening.
  • Have your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime.  
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine before bedtime.
  • Avoid rigorous exercising one to two hours before bedtime.
  • Get regular exercise, fresh air and sunshine.

 About Debi Noye

Debi is a writer, a mental health consumer, and a suicide attempt survivor. As part of her recovery, she has found freedom in embracing her creative side (painting and creating mail art as well as writing), which allows her to be open and honest about living with a mental illness. Debi is passionate about playing an active role in the mental health community, not only as a consumer but also as a friend, resource, and advocate for other consumers. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.