What looks like a good nights sleep for one person may be quite different from another’s. Some feel refreshed after 6 hours sleep, some like 8 or more hours. Sleep can be affected by night work, children, illness, pain, depression, anxiety, trauma, life events and many other factors. Not enough, or too much sleep may affect your mental and physical wellbeing. If you have long term sleep problems, perhaps its time to see your doctor or a psychologist. If sleep problems are affecting your wellbeing, you may need a referral to a sleep clinic to help diagnose your sleep problem.

Here are some helpful tips for a better night’s sleep from the Australian Psychological Society website.

  • Use your bed only for sleep (and sex), and not for other activities such as reading.


  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark during your sleeping hours.


  • Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature – not too cold or too warm.


  • Avoid using electronic media such as the computer, television, smartphone, e-reader or tablet at least one to two hours before going to bed


  • Avoid coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks during the afternoon and evening.


  • Avoid alcohol.


  • Cut down or stop smoking with help from a medical practitioner. Sudden attempts to stop smoking and nicotine replacement patches can affect sleep.


  • Exercise regularly but avoid exercising immediately before bed.


  • Get up at the same time, even if you had trouble sleeping the night before.


  • Try not to worry about whether you are going to sleep well, or what will happen if you don’t.


  • Perform important tasks that require you to focus and concentrate during the day rather than in the evening.


  • Practice relaxation or mindfulness techniques when going to bed to help calm the mind and body, and promote rest even when you are not sleeping. Gently focusing on your breath as you breathe in and out can be a simple, helpful technique.



Dr Deb Kahler – Psychologist