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It’s very important to try to keep to a normal sleep routine, even though your fatigue may make you feel like sleeping all the time.
There are many ways to overcome fatigue that your nurse or doctor will be happy to discuss with you. In the meantime, the ten point plan below might be a useful guide to make the most of your rest periods.
Sleep quality is very important and may help to fight fatigue as well as reduce your need to sleep during the day.
Sleep for just long enough to feel refreshed the following day, but don’t sleep more than you need. Spending too much time in bed is likely to affect the quality of your sleep.
Exercise regularly if you can, as this may help you sleep better in the long term.
Wake up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time so that you get into a good sleep routine.
Keep your bedroom for sleeping. If you wake during the night, go to another room in the house. If you need to sleep during the day, go to your bed and sleep.
Reduce light and noise at night time as this will disturb sleep. Even occasional loud noises (such as an aircraft flying overhead) affect sleep. If your bedroom is noisy, you could use ear plugs.
Keep a steady temperature in your bedroom. If your room is either very warm or very cold, your sleep may be affected. Room temperature should be comfortably warm.
Have a bedtime snack but avoid stimulants and limit your alcohol intake at night time. Hunger may disturb sleep. Have a light bedtime snack, warm milk or a hot drink before going to bed if you find it helps you sleep, but avoid food and drinks that contain stimulants such as caffeine for a few hours before bedtime. While alcohol can help people to fall asleep more quickly, the sleep tends to be broken. It may also give you a dry mouth and an unpleasant taste that can wake you, so it’s best to limit your intake of alcohol near bedtime.
Know how naps affect you. Some people find that daytime naps help them sleep better at night, while others sleep less well after them. Find out what suits you best.
Get out of bed if you can’t sleep. Rather than lying in bed tossing and turning, get up and watch television or read a book. You could try listening to audio books, which are available from most bookshops and libraries or can be downloaded from the internet. Wait until you feel tired again and then go back to bed.
Keep a worry book. If you wake at night and are worrying about things, write them down. You can then work through your list during the day and get support and advice from relatives and friends or from your doctor or nurse.
Mental exercises can also help you to sleep. Here are a few mental exercises that you may like to try. They usually take about 10 minutes.
You can get more information on sleeping well from the Royal College of Psychiatrists|
Content last reviewed: 1 February 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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