Sleeping well?

Do what you know.

This tool is about the difference between what you know about sleep and what you do about sleep.

It highlights any differences and helps you identify what you want to do about it!

Reading time: 4 minutes

What will it do?

This tool will help identify the differences between what you know about sleep and what you do about sleep so you can choose what to do about it.

Complete the tool once and take the actions that you want to do as a result. Then come back to the tool to review and re-use it in a few weeks time to see how well you’re getting on. Repeat as often as necessary.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. What do you know about good sleep practice?

Have a look at the list of things people typically tell us help them with good sleep and tick those that you know and use already. Add any you need to that form part of your sleep routine.

  • Most adults need 7-9 hours sleep per night (or enough to wake up feeling rested)
  • A dark room helps you sleep better
  • Having my room neither too hot or cold helps me sleep
  • I have a set bedtime and stick to it as much as possible
  • I remove all unnecessary lighting from my room (tv standby, screens) when it’s time to sleep
  • What and when I eat and drink affects my sleep, so for a good night, I avoid alcohol/caffeine
  • Even though I wake up, I know that’s normal so I’m relaxed about getting back to sleep
  • You can’t catch up on sleep and doing so disrupts a regular routine

2. Assess how well you’re doing what you know

For everything that you’ve thought about – your sleep factors – ask yourself how well you are at getting this factor right, for you and give yourself a score in the table.

Sleep Factor 1= I’m doing this really poorly / 10 = I do this  really well
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7 – 9 hours sleep each night
I make sure my room is dark at night
I get the room temperature spot on
I have a set bedtime routine
All unnecessary lighting is off
Food/Drink choices are made well
I stay relaxed if I wake in the night
I don’t try to ‘catch-up’ on missed sleep

3. Time to do some planning

Excellent. Now you’ve worked through 1 and 2 you’re in a good position to do some planning. Pick UP TO 3 areas of focus for you to improve your score on for the next 7 nights of sleep. Your challenge is to find out how well you can improve the area over that period and to monitor what impact it has on how well you sleep and how rested you feel on waking.

Area of focus What I’m going to do Sleep quality / how rested?

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. This is about getting going. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below. As well as these we’d encourage you to:

  • Think about the people who need to know that you’re using this tool and tell them what you’re doing. That way they can support you, help you reflect and won’t think you’re just being weird.
  • Think about the impact you want from using this tool. Depending on your starting point, how hard you work and how ambitious you are, you might not get that impact straight away. So valuing progress rather than perfection will help build your confidence and keep you going.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? (This bit is easy – it’s the 3 things listed above. No 3 is particularly helpful here. If there’s anything else you need to do, jot it down here)

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to do these things? (You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great)

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be doing them? (Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit)

    Check-in frequency and dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.