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Problems sleeping

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There's a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.

You may find a sleep problem can lead you to:

  • have negative thoughts, feel depressed or anxious – if you have little sleep you may feel less able to rationalise worries or irrational thoughts
  • feel lonely or isolated – if you feel tired you may not want to be sociable or see friends
  • experience psychotic episodes – if you have a psychotic disorder or bipolar disorder, a lack of sleep may trigger mania, psychosis or paranoia, or make existing symptoms worse

You may find a relaxation routine can help you prepare for sleep. There are several things you can try:

  • Do something calming – such as listening to relaxing music, or having a bath.
  • Breathing exercises – in a comfortable position, try this: breathe into your belly (not your chest) then out through your nose, making your out-breath longer than your in-breath; repeat until you feel relaxed.
  • Muscle relaxation – consciously tense and relax your muscles, one after the other, starting with your toes and working up your body until you reach the top of your head; Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a technique some people find useful – this NHS guide has further details.
  • Visualisation – picture a scene or landscape that has pleasant memories for you.
  • Meditation – you can learn meditation techniques at a class or from self-help guides; many people also find mindfulness helpful.

The Mental Healthy Charity, Mind, provide advice and support on problems sleeping.

Silvercloud online course is free to sign up for help with sleep, resilience, mindfulness and stress. It helps people to understand their own situation how to get good night time sleep. SilverCloud is a confidential and secure series of programmes to help ease stress, sleep better or build resilience.

How to contact us

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