Tips for sleeping better

Tips för att sova bra

It is important for your well-being that you get a good nights sleep. It is also however, normal for there to be times when you have trouble sleeping. This can be because you are worried about something or feeling stressed. Here you can find out what you can do to get a better nights sleep and the kind of help that is available.

En person ligger och sover gott. Illustration.

You need to sleep so that your body can develop and so that your body’s defences against disease are ready and working. Your brain needs sleep so that it can function properly.

Most people feel at their best when they sleep for eight to nine hours. It is recommended to sleep at night, since the human body is designed to be awake during the day and sleep at night.

Try the following to get a better night's sleep 

  • Try not to sleep during the day. This can make it harder for you to sleep at night. Get up in the morning, even if you have not slept well.
  • Be active during the day, for example by exercising or taking a walk.  The human body is made for movement. You might notice that you feel happier and sleep more soundly after you have done physical activity.
  • Go outside every day. Daylight is good for you, and it is particularly important during the winter.
  • Eat food that helps to make you feel good. Try to eat at the same time every day. Do not drink too much cola, coffee, energy drinks or tea. Avoid drinking these especially in the afternoon and evening, as they make you feel more alert. Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do you smoke or use snuff? Try to stop or cut down. Cigarettes and snuff contain nicotine, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Try to take it easy an hour before going to bed. Turn off your mobile phone, computer and any bright lights. Eat a snack if you are hungry.
  • Get up if you have not fallen asleep within a half hour. Do something else for a while such as reading, eating a snack, having a shower or going for a short walk.

Tips for relaxing

It is easier to sleep if you are relaxed.

  • Listen to music which relaxes you.
  • Try to think about your breathing. Feel how you fill your lungs with air and then how your lungs empty as you breathe out. Breathe slowly.
  • Focus on one part of your body at a time. Tighten the muscles in a certain body part for a few seconds, and then relax. You can begin with your toes, then continue with your foot, followed by your leg and so on, until you have worked through your whole body.
  • Use an app which helps with relaxation.
  • Have sex, for example by masturbating.

Do you find it hard to relax because of all the thoughts going through your head? Try not to let your thoughts frighten you. Try telling yourself, “I am going to think or talk about this tomorrow, when I can think straight. Not right now, because right now I am going to relax and get some rest”.

Everyone has trouble sleeping sometimes

Sometimes it can be hard to fall asleep. It can happen that you sometimes wake up during the night and cannot get back sleep again. Or that you wake up early and have not gotten enough sleep.

This happens to everyone at some point in time. It is common and it usually passes.

You may have experienced some of the following if you have problems sleeping:

  • You feel tired and sad.
  • You have headaches.
  • You feel dizzy and sick to the stomach.
  • You find it hard to concentrate and think straight.
  • You feel stressed and irritated.

It can be hard to sleep if you are feeling stressed or worried

It is common to have trouble sleeping if you are feeling stressed, worried or sad, for example, before a test at school or if you are worried about how something in the future is going to turn out.

It is hard to relax because you spend lots of time thinking about whatever it is that is worrying you. If you manage to fall asleep, it may be that you do not fall into a deep enough sleep, or that you do not sleep soundly.

Your sleep will usually improve when your situation has changed.

Bad experiences can make you feel tired

It is common to feel tired if you have experienced something really bad. If this has happened to you, you might need to sleep more than usual.

It is a good idea to get help if you feel really tired for a long time. You might need help, to be able to feel better. Begin by telling someone how you feel.

You can have nightmares if you are feeling frightened or worried

It is common to dream about things that frighten or worry you. You can have nightmares, even if a long time has passed since certain bad experiences have happened.

Nightmares can be disruptive to your sleep. For example, you might wake up and be too afraid to fall asleep again. You might remember your dream clearly and have the awful feeling of the dream left behind with you. 

It usually feels less frightening to think about nightmares during the day. It is a good idea to talk about your dreams, for example, with a friend. This can make it easier for you to dare to go to sleep at night.

You can get help if you have trouble sleeping

You do not need to be worried if you occasionally have trouble sleeping. However, you should get help if you have trouble sleeping for longer than a few weeks.

Contact a Youth Guidance Centre (ungdomsmottagning) or a health centre (vårdcentral). You can visit the school nurse or school counsellor if you go to school. The person you talk with can help you to get more help, if this is necessary. For instance, you might need to talk to a psychologist, who can help you feel better so that you can sleep properly.

You and the person helping you, need to figure out together why you are having trouble sleeping. It is the problem that is disrupting your sleep, that you need to get help with. You could, for example talk about what is frightening you and get help in understanding how it affects you. You can also learn ways to help you relax.

There is medication for sleeping problems that can help. You need a prescription from a doctor for this kind of medication. You can use it for a short period.

Everyone has trouble sleeping sometimes

Sometimes it can be hard to fall asleep. Sometimes you might wake up at night and can’t fall back to sleep. Or you wake up early and have slept too little.

This happens to everyone at some time. This is not unusual and it usually passes.

You might recognize some of the following situations if you don’t sleep well:

  • You’re tired and sad.
  • You have a headache.
  • You feel dizzy and sick to your stomach.
  • You find it hard to concentrate and think.
  • You feel stressed and irritated.

You might find it hard to sleep if you’re feeling stressed or worried

It is common to have trouble sleeping if you’re feeling stressed, worried or sad, for example, before a test at school or if you are worried about something that might happen.

It’s hard to relax because you are thinking a lot about whatever it is that is worrying you. Maybe you don’t fall into a deep enough sleep or sleep properly once you have fallen asleep.

Your sleep will usually improve when your situation has changed.

Bad experiences can make you feel tired

It is common to feel tired if you have experienced something really bad. In that case, you might need to sleep more than usual.

It is a good idea to get help if you feel very tired for a long time. You might need help to feel better. Begin by telling someone how you feel.

You might have nightmares if you are frightened or worried

It is common to dream about things that frighten or worry you. You might have nightmares even a long time after something bad has happened to you.

Nightmares can disturb your sleep a lot. For instance, you might wake up and be afraid to fall asleep again. You might clearly remember the dream and its awful feeling.

It’s usually less frightening to think about nightmares during the day. It’s a good idea to talk about your dreams, for instance, with a friend. This can make it easier for you to go to bed at night.

You can get help if you have trouble sleeping

Don’t worry if you have trouble sleeping sometimes. However, you should get help if you have trouble sleeping for more than a few weeks.

Contact a Youth Guidance Centre (ungdomsmottagning) or a health centre(vårdcentral). You can visit your school nurse or school counsellor if you go to school. The person you meet can help you get more help, if necessary. For instance, you might need to talk to a psychologist, who can help you feel better so that you sleep properly.

You and the person helping you need to find out together why you have trouble sleeping. You need help with whatever it is that is disturbing your sleep. For instance, talk about whatever it is that frightens you and get help in understanding how it affects you. You can also learn how to relax.

There is medication for sleeping problems that can help. You need a prescription from a doctor for this kind of medication. You can use it for a short period.

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