Struggling to nod off? How to manage sleep problems

Morning Talk 18/01/2018
Girl sleeping. Credit: File.

If you've found the warm summer nights and humid weather has robbed you of your sleep - you're not alone. Nearly everyone has difficulty getting to sleep every now and then, but for some, this can be a regular trend.

A study by the NHS in the United Kingdom has estimated that a third of British people regularly suffer from difficulty sleeping.

Dr Tony Fernando, a psychiatrist and sleep specialist at the Auckland University School of Medicine joined Mark Sainsbury for Morning Talk with some tips on how to manage sleep problems.

Dr Fernando says for many of his patients who suffer from sleep problems like insomnia, they have to go to bed a little later than most.

He says a consistent sleep pattern which many people may follow doesn't necessarily work for those who have trouble going to sleep.

"Most people are what we would call the average or normal folk, who would feel sleepy around 10-11pm and wake up six, seven or eight hours later - that's the average.

But some people are late clockers or what we call owls

"Generally, their body would want to sleep much later than most than average. It's common for them to feel sleepy after midnight or one, two, three, or four in the morning.

Struggling to nod off? Here's a list of things to try.

  • Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, including at the weekend.
  • Stay away from screens. 
  • Keep your room cool.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Do not stay in bed awake.

Listen to the full interview with Dr Tony Fernando above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, weekdays from 9am-noon on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the ROVA app on Android and iPhone.