Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Tips for sleeping well

Ngā tohu whakamoe hauora

If you practise good sleep habits, you'll have the best chance of a good, refreshing sleep. A term that health professionals use to describe good sleep habits is sleep hygiene.

Many sleeping problems are due to bad habits built up over a long time. You will not fix sleeping problems in one night but if you persevere, your sleep should improve. Different things may work for you, so find out what works and stick with it.

Above all, do not obsess about your sleep problems, as one poor night's sleep isn't a problem. Just return to your good sleep habits the next night.

If you're having trouble sleeping, or you just want to get a good night's sleep, read below for some ideas and recommendations to try.


If despite practising good sleep habits, you still have trouble sleeping, see your general practice team, as something else may be disturbing your sleep.

Sleep needs

Most people need between seven and nine hours sleep each day, but this includes naps and time spent dozing in front of the TV. Do not build up unrealistic expectations of your sleep needs.

Go to bed and get up at the same time each day

Be physically active each day and try to spend time outdoors or in natural light

Make your bedroom as restful as possible

Take care about what you do just before bed

Take medicines as directed

Quit smoking

Quitting smoking not only brings many health benefits, it also gets rid of the stimulant effects of nicotine that contribute to sleep loss.

Be comfortable and relaxed in bed

Do not stay in bed if you are awake

You cannot force yourself to sleep. If you do not fall asleep in a reasonable time, perhaps 20 to 30 minutes, get up and do something boring, but do this in another room. Try to keep the lighting fairly dim. When you're tired, go back to bed. This helps your mind associate your bed with sleeping.

Bedtime restriction

For some people, following a bedtime restriction programme can be helpful. This involves reducing the amount of time you spend in bed, aiming for better quality sleep over a shorter time. You can then slowly increase your sleep time.

  HealthInfo recommends the following videos

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2022.


See also:


Page reference: 46895

Review key: HISLE-11928