Tips on getting a better night's sleep

Posted 23 June 2015

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Getting a good night’s sleep when you’ve other things on your mind can be hard – we’ve got some tips that could help.

If you’ve got problem debt on your mind, it can be hard to think of anything else. And you’re not alone – research earlier in the year found that 92%* of people in Britain who consider themselves to have a debt problem worry about it, and of those people, 49% of them struggle sleeping.

We don’t need to tell you the frustration of not being able to get to sleep, but there are health benefits you could be missing out on too, so it’s good to try a few different tactics to help you drift off.  

Turn off electronic devices before bedtime – wherever possible, switch off any smartphones, tablets, or laptops a few hours before bed. Scientists have found that our bodies are programmed to go to sleep at night-time when the sun goes down, but the blue light from electronic devices can confuse that impulse. 

Don’t clock-watch – when you get into bed, turn the alarm clock round so that you can’t see it. Being able to look at the clock could make you more tempted to take frequent glances to check the time, which may make it harder to sleep. 

Stick to the same bedtime every day – getting your body into a rhythm by going to bed at the same time could help you fall asleep when the time comes. It can be tough if you’ve spent all night awake worrying, but try not to nap during the day, as this can mess up your sleep pattern. 

Listen to an audio book or free relaxation tape – try and find something else to concentrate on. Listening to music through headphones while you’re trying to sleep could help, but it might be an even better idea to download a free audio book or relaxation tape. If you’re focusing on the spoken words, it could take your mind off your problems.

Cut out the caffeine – try to drink less tea and coffee throughout the day as the caffeine can keep you awake at night. Consider sticking to caffeine-free drinks such as hot milk, hot squash, or herbal teas, as these won’t keep you awake.

Take a hot shower before bed – as well as keeping you warm, a hot bath or shower before you turn in for the night can help relax your body. 

Get up if you really can’t sleep – after half an hour or so of being unable to sleep, get up for a bit and leave the room to try and find a way to relax your mind. Try reading for a bit under a dim light, or writing down all your worries if you find that getting it all out works for you. When you start to feel sleepy, go back to bed and wait until you fall asleep naturally. 

Ask for help – one of the best ways to unburden some of the stress of debt problems is to talk to someone about it. You could consider getting in touch with one of our expert advisers or another independent source of debt advice. They may be able to discuss debt solutions with you, for which fees may be payable, or just offer you some advice about how to start getting your finances back on track. By sharing your worries with someone, rather than keeping them all locked in your head, you may have a better chance of finally catching up on the sleep that’s been alluding you.  

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 20th January and 27th January 2015, of whom 635 were in Scotland.



by Christine Walsh

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