Resource type: Article

Sleep disturbances

Feeling tired is very common

It’s very common to have problems sleeping in the first few weeks after you get home, even though you may feel very tired. You might struggle to get to sleep, have broken sleep, sleep for much longer than usual or sleep at different times to which you normally would (including napping during the day).

Why can't I sleep?

It's likely that many people suffer from sleep deprivation during their time in hospital. Some people wake several times during the night due to feeling anxious about what's happened to them, whether it might happen again and how long it takes to recover.Others tell us that they are frightened to sleep because of the horrible dreams, hallucinations and nightmares they had in Intensive Care.

Will things get better?

Yes. From what other people tell us, it can sometimes take a few weeks to get back to normal. If not sleeping becomes a real problem (particularly if horrible dreams are the cause), think about going to speak to your GP.

What can I do?

There are lots of simple things that you can try, like a hot bath before bedtime, a hot milky drink, listening to music or reading a book. You could also try relaxation techniques (we have added some useful links on this website, if you'd like to try them). It might help to stop drinking tea or coffee after a certain time in the evening.