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More self-help/advice on Sleep

Sleep Routine:

Getting some natural light by going outdoors during the day is good for the sleep pattern. If you are currently not leaving the house regularly due to other symptoms of Long COVID or pre-existing limitations, try to at least sit near a window or open door for some daylight for some part of the day. Ideally this should be early in your day as this helps set your ‘body clock’.

Having a night time routine is a key part of good sleep hygiene. This allows your body to wind down, and also mentally switch off in preparation for sleep. Try to avoid screens for at least 45-60 minutes before bed. Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol all disrupt sleep, as does eating a heavy meal or exercising too close to bed time.

Suggestions for a good sleep routine:

Some environmental considerations of sleep hygiene:

As much as you should prioritise sleep hygiene and the time for sleep, don’t try and force yourself to sleep. If it’s not coming to you, get out of bed and do something else (ideally something not very stimulating!) and try again when you start to feel tired. The latest evidence suggests you shouldn’t spend more than 20 minutes awake in bed at any point. This also applies when you wake up in the night time. Instead, if you can’t get to sleep, try sitting somewhere else, which is comfortable and gently lit. Remember to avoid screens! Try repeating some of the steps in your night time routine (suggestions above). When you feel ready to sleep again, return to bed. Repeat if necessary.

It may sound over simplified, but once you are following a good routine, try not to worry about sleep! The more you worry, the harder it becomes. There is no secret to being a ‘good sleeper’ apart from trusting that it will come.

  • Website with lots more information on sleep and how to improve yours: www.thesleepcharity.org.uk
  • Programme on Netflix titled “Headspace guide to sleep”. (You will need a Netflix subscription to access it)
  • TV programmeon BBC iPlayer (free) titled “HorizonHow to sleep well”.
  • App called: “CBT-I Coach” has tips on changing behaviour around sleep and also recording your progress
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