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Dealing with Sleeping Problems

Posted 25th May, 2023

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What to do when you are not getting enough sleep

How many times have you lain awake at night thinking about work, the kids, your relationship, the dog or all of the above? Have you then gone to work feeling tired, stressed, and not able to concentrate?

We have all had the odd sleepless night but are there consistent abnormal sleep patterns that you find yourself being unable to get out of?

Sleep is vital for wellbeing

Sleep is vital for our mental and emotional wellbeing as it improves our mood and our brain performance.

Lack of sleep raises the risk of getting a range of physical illnesses such as heart disease, dementia and stroke.

It is also essential to help keep us safe ie driving a car or operating machinery can be seriously dangerous if we are sleep-deprived.

How to help sleeping problems

  1. Get the basics right – there are several key things to have to resolve sleep problems. You may have heard them before but here is a reminder – don’t use screens before bedtime, keep your bedroom dark and quiet, and try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day (even on the weekends).

  2. Restless leg syndrome – if you have an overwhelming desire to move your legs at night you may have restless leg syndrome. It is not only uncomfortable, but it makes it hard to stay asleep and fall asleep. Regular exercise, avoiding substances like caffeine and alcohol, and stretching your legs before bedtime may help.

  3. Sleep apnea – if you wake up with a dry mouth, have difficulty staying asleep and your partner complains that you snore – you may have sleep apnea. This is a condition where your breathing consistently stops and starts while you are asleep. Being overweight can contribute to this problem so weight loss may help and/or sleeping on your side. Some sleep apnea devices can also help which are fitted before bed to help you breathe easier.

  4. Insomnia – if you consistently fail to get to sleep, stay asleep, or wake up on the right and can’t get back to sleep you may have insomnia. You will likely feel irritable, have poor concentration, and consistently feel tired as a result. Having a good bedtime routine may help (see tip one above), trying meditation and breathing before bed and regular exercise may help.

If you have any of these sleep disorder symptoms and they are not improving through self-care please seek medical help.

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Supporting Links


NZ Respiratory & Sleep Institute

Sleep Health Foundation - Australia

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NZ Respiratory and Sleep Institute - 0800 895 120

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