Caring for Yourself

Dedicated to our Healthcare Heroes!

Have problem sleeping?

During troubling times like a pandemic and recession, you may have problems getting to sleep. Howvere, sleep is so essential during this time because it allows us rest and recharge ourselves

The following tips may be useful in helping you get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is very important for all of us. Most adults would need approximately 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Losing 1-2 hours of sleep has immediate effect on your functioning, as your concentration and thinking are affected, and you feel listless, tired and sleepy the next day

What is sleep hygiene?

It is a set of good habitual behaviours that we should observe regardless of whether we have sleep problems or not. It is a way to help promote quality sleep naturally.

Develop good sleep hygiene / good sleep habits

  1. Have a regular/fixed sleeping and waking time each day. Even, if you did not get a good night’s sleep.
  2. Continue the day’s activities as normal, and try to avoid afternoon naps to ‘catch up on lost sleep’.
  3. Exercise regularly everyday, preferably in the morning.  Avoid vigorous exercise shortly before bedtime.
  4. Keep the temperature of your bedroom comfortable; neither too cold or too warm.
  5. Practise mindfulness meditation.
  6. Keep the bedroom quiet and dark enough to facilitate sleep.
  7. Sleep in a well ventilated room.
  8. Use your bed for sleep only.
  9. Do relaxation exercises just before going to sleep.
  10. Keep your feet and hands warm.
  11. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine like; a warm bath or shower, easy reading, listening to soothing music.

Avoid bad sleep hygiene / bad sleep habits

  1. Avoid stimulating activities like:
    • playing a competitive game, watching an exciting programme on the computer, mobile or TV
  2. Avoid arguments or talking important matters with loved ones just before bed.
  3. Avoid caffeine (eg, coffee, too much tea, especially black tea, chocolates, coke) after 6pm.
  4. Do not use alcohol to help you sleep. It actually interrupts your sleep cycle.
  5. Avoid sleeping past midnight.
  6. Do not read or do work or watch television in bed.
  7. Do not sleep too long or too much.
  8. Do not go to bed too hungry or too full.
  9. Do not take someone else’s sleep medications.
  10. Do not use electronic devices just prior to sleeping (mobile phone, tablet) to read, listen to music, etc., as “White Light” from these devices will affect your ability to sleep

If you have difficulty sleeping

  1. If you cannot sleep, don’t force yourself. Get up and do something else. Focus on something that is very boring / neutral for you.
  2. Do not clock watch when trying to fall asleep
  3. Do not lie in bed and worry about problems or work for the next day
    • Set aside some “worry” time during the day to deal with your worries, so this will not impact your sleep at night. Learn more about worry time from here:

Up next: How healthcare workers can help their loved ones

Ref: L20