Part of the COVID-19 Psychological Wellbeing Series, written for

Prepared by Daniel Flynn, Principal Psychology Manager, Cork Kerry Mental Health Services,

Head of Psychology Services Ireland (HPSI)


You can download a printable pdf of this article to keep handy for reference here.

COVID-19 is bringing unrivalled challenges for us. It is important that we all do what we can to look after ourselves and each other as we try to effectively deal with this evolving situation.

The following are tips to help with sleep.

Guide to sleep hygiene

  • Avoid caffeine for at least six hours before going to sleep
  • Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and street drugs before going to sleep and throughout the night
  • Avoid bright lights, including television, before going to sleep because they are stimulating
  • Don’t exercise or eat a heavy meal shortly before going to sleep
  • Avoid napping during the day because it will make you less tired at night
  • Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible by
    • keeping the temperature at a cool and comfortable level
    • keeping your room as dark as possible (use sleep mask if needed)
    • minimizing as much noise as possible (use ear plugs if needed)
  • Do not use your bed for working, reading, or watching television. This way, your body will associate your bed with sleep, not with activity.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep, get out of bed and do something soothing until you feel tired enough to go back to sleep. Don’t lie in bed thinking about other things; this will just make you feel more aggravated and make it harder to get back to sleep.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Create a regular pattern of sleeping and waking that your body can predict.
  • Use some kind of relaxation method before going to sleep in order to calm your body and mind. For example
    • taking a bath
    • meditating, praying or using relaxation skills
    • writing down your thoughts
  • If your sleep problems persist, if you can’t stay awake during the day, or if you’re feeling depressed, contact a medical professional for advice.

If we want to check the facts, get information from HSE and/or HPSC where there are regular updates relating to COVID-19 in Ireland.


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