How to sleep right

Before taking any sleep medicines, discuss any sleep problems with your doctor or pharmacist to find what will work for you. While sleeping pills may seem like the easy answer, they may not be the best solution for your needs. There are other options available.

Tips for natural sleep

If you're having problems sleeping, these tips will get you on the right track:

  • Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day
  • Be as active as possible during the day and spend some time outdoors
  • Reduce the amount of caffeine you have each day and avoid caffeinated drinks after lunchtime
  • Avoid naps during the day. If you do nap, keep it to 20 minutes and before 3pm
  • Avoid heavy meals, exercise or working on the computer late in the evening
  • Relax for 30 minutes before going to bed (e.g. have a warm bath)
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol in the evening
  • Make sure your bedroom is not too hot or cold
  • Don't eat, work, watch television, read or discuss problems in bed
  • Ensure you are comfortable and your bedroom is quiet and dark
  • Don't stay in bed if you are awake for more than 20 minutes — go to another room and do something relaxing

If you have tried these tips and are still having problems with sleep, ask your doctor about other treatment options. Your doctor will be able to help find what will work for you and may also refer you to a sleep specialist, a sleep clinic, or suggest you fill out a sleep diary.

There are a large number of sleep clinics across Australia. To find out which clinics are in your area, contact your local branch of Sleep Disorders Australia.

Treatment options

A doctor or specialist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Cognitive therapy helps people who are excessively worried about their sleep and any consequences
  • Stimulus control helps people who associate the bed or bedroom with frustration and worry
  • Sleep restriction helps people who have difficulty staying asleep
  • Relaxation training helps people who cannot 'wind down' and sleep due to physical tension, an overactive mind or worry

Support networks

There are various organisations that can provide you with information on sleep and different sleep problems. For more support visit:

Sleep problems