Tips to manage sleep in times of stress

Monday, 6 April 2020

COVID -19 is changing the way we live, work and socialise.

It may also be impacting your sleep if you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the risk of contracting the virus or the impact it could have on your family and friends.

Right now though, getting a good night’s sleep could be more important than ever.

Sleep is essential for maintaining our health and mood. Sleep can also boost our immune function and help us deal with stress.

But if you’re struggling to manage with all the changes right now you are not alone.  At any given time, almost half of the Australian adult population reports being impacted by insomnia. That’s a lot of us who aren’t sleeping well.

The Australian Sleep Health Foundation has identified a range of reasons at to why we are not sleeping, why it prevents sleep and the actions we can take to get a good night’s rest.


Tips to getting a good night’s sleep


Reasons for lack of sleep Why it prevents sleep Actions you can take
Too much caffeine Stimulants prevent you from sleeping Limit caffeine drinks in the afternoon/evening
Too much alcohol Alcohol cause drowsiness, but sleep it can also create an interrupted, restless sleep Avoid using alcohol to help you get to sleep. try other methods of relaxation
Over use of sleeping tablets Overtime, sleeping tablets may stop working well. You may also become addicted Use sleeping tablets with care and discuss alternate options with your GP
Eating and drinking too close to bedtime


Eating and drinking late can lead to heartburn and discomfort in your chest or stomach Avoid late meals and snacks before bedtime. If needed, snacks should be small and light

Limit fluids before bedtime so that you don’t have to get up to the toilet during the night

Do some light exercise lightly after dinner – walk, stretch or bike ride.



Day-to-day living, especially in these unsettling times, can be stressful, and can interfere with sleep. We find it hard to turn off our brains and negative thoughts Take time to relax and unwind before going to bed.

Turn off the TV and digital devices an hour before bed.

Concentrate on positive things that happened in your day.

Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath.

Speak with your diabetes care team about ways to make your life less stressful

Sleep disorders


Insomnia, sleep apnoea and restless legs can affect your ability to fall, and stay, sleep Speak with your GP about ways to manage sleep disorders

The Sleep Foundation also has information to help those who suffer from sleep disorders

Failing to wind down before bed


Exercising, playing computer games and watching TV too close to bedtime can disturb sleep. Give your brain time to wind down and relax. Reserve your last waking hour to relaxing.

Read a book or magazine, doing some stretches or breathing.

Listen to soothing music.

Other medical conditions


Asthma, arthritis, anxiety and depression may disturb sleep Speak with your GP about ways to help you can manage manage other health conditions to reduce the impact on your sleep.
Drug side effects Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs can have side effects that may disturb sleep Speak with your GP about all your medications. There may be other options for you

Need more help?

If you are really struggling with your sleep because you are anxious about the changes COVID-19 is having on your life call us. We are here for you.

Our Psychologist on Call can guide through ways to manage your stress. We also have a great factsheet that can help you focus on the things that you can control in your life.

Our team of expert health professionals including  diabetes educators, dietitians and exercise physiologists can provide advice and support on how to manage your blood glucose levels and diabetes so you stay well and healthy.  Call our Helpline on 1300 342 238 is you need some extra support.

For more information on how to improve your sleep visit the Australian Sleep Health Foundation


Join our community of over 45,000 people living with diabetes