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Relax before bed  

Winding down before bed can help to prepare us for sleep. For example, you could:  

  • Avoid looking at screens; instead, try reading, taking a hot bath or a hot drink (decaffeinated).  
  • Avoid watching or listening to anything overly stimulating or upsetting.   
  • Not eat for at least a couple of hours before bed and especially avoid sugar and rich food.  
  • Try mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, yoga or meditation before bed.  
  • Burn incense, or use essential oils or a diffuser. Try calming smells like lavender. 

Relax your mind

Try to switch off your mind and ignore thoughts of things you have to do.

Keep a notebook and pen by your bedside so that if a thought enters your head you can write it down. This gets it out of your head and means you’ve got note to come back to in the morning.


Listening to something can help us relax.   

  • Try listening to calming music or nature noises.   
  • You could also try listening to an audio book but better to avoid anything too exciting.   
  • A story you already know might be good. 

Thought exercises

Repetitive thought exercises can help send you to sleep.

If counting sheep doesn’t work, imagine drawing a big circle on a white board. Write 99 in the circle then carefully rub it out without damaging the circle. Now write 98 before rubbing it out again. Repeat again until you fall asleep.


Visualisation can also help keep us relaxed.   

Think of yourself in a relaxing place like lying on a deserted beach listening to the waves or in a sunny meadow listening to birds. 

When you can’t sleep  

It can be frustrating when we can’t fall asleep. Try not to get annoyed at yourself.  Instead:  

  • get up and do something else for 20 minutes.   
  • Try another relaxation technique or read.  
  • If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, try to think of something positive as soon as they enter your head.   
  • Listening to an audio book could also help focus your thoughts on something more positive. 
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