Close Close
Close Close

Tips for sleeping problems

Rhythm: Sleep patterns and sleep needs are unique to everyone. If your behavior deviates from regular advice but you feel well, there is no reason for concern .

Let it go. If you do have sleeping problems and don't fit within the averages, there are still options for support, even if you believe you have already done and tried everything.

Go to sleep

If you fear going to bed because have trouble falling asleep, you undermine falling asleep. If falling asleep takes longer than 30 minutes and it remains difficult for a longer period of time and does not succeed within 30 minutes several times a week, then you speak of a “falling asleep problem”. Tackle it by starting to "become sluggish" more than an hour before going to sleep. Finish your activities and let your head relax. Dim the light, turn down the sound, end the day and do something quiet to relax, chat and rumble. A good transition for your thoughts to sleep is to write down things you don't want to forget and repeat a fixed sleeping ritual daily in the same order. Because of this fixed pattern your body knows that you are going to sleep. Sleep can be strongly influenced by habit formation and your sleep ritual is a good example of this.

Sleep interruptions

There are various reasons why you wake up after falling asleep and do not immediately sleep again. Time to improve this: stay in bed and take a critical look at your own nightly behaviour, thoughts and feelings. Weigh up the importance of it at this time of night. Are your thoughts up NOW? Usually they can wait until tomorrow. Then tell yourself that it doesn't matter NOW, that tomorrow is a new day and that it is by sleeping now with an empty head that you will be able to think better and more concentrated about it tomorrow. Re-educate your brain! Give the message: "I want to sleep" and concentrate:

  • Your close surroundings, such as your body heat, the heaviness of your body, the darkness around you or your calm sleepy breathing.
  • Something fun, such as holidays, hobbies, outings.
  • Something you feel concrete, like your nice pillow, mattress or blankets or something soft in your hand.

If you don't fall asleep again within 15 to 20 minutes, it is better to leave your bed for a while. Then do something trivial and always something different (make herbal teas, listen to music, leaf through some folders). Keep the light dimmed, don't watch TV or use your mobile phone and don't do any useful tasks. Trust that your periods of being awake at night will diminish and your sleep will recover in the course of several weeks. If necessary, go to your family doctor or ask a sleep exercise therapist who can teach you to relax well and bring your body and thought processes back to almost zero.



Snoring and sleep apnea

Sometimes you don't even realise it yourself but your partner already knows that there is a sleeping problem, because he has trouble sleeping because of the noise. A little snoring doesn't have to be bad, but it can also be something serious. You can recognise sleep apnea by this:

  • Snoring a lot and loudly.
  • Stop breathing suddenly.
  • Start breathing and snoring again with a jerk, sweating and heart palpitations.
  • Excessive fatigue during the day, headaches, irritability, exhaustion and listlessness.
  • Poor concentration, not being able to perform as well as working very hard not to feel the fatigue


Especially when you are overweight, 40+, when are a man, when you use alcohol, when you smoke, when you have irregular working hours and perhaps also when you use muscle relaxants, painkillers or sleeping pills, then you have a higher chance of developing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea not only deteriorates your quality of life, but also your life expectancy. Due to the attack on the cardiovascular system, there is a 50% increased risk of heart problems. Fatigue and sleep attacks can also cause accidents. 80% of individuals with apnea-related complaints remain undiagnosed, with all the consequences this entails, of course.

  • If you suspect sleep apnea, see your (family) doctor.
  • Change the negative factors: obesity, smoking, alcohol, work and sleeping pills.
  • Seek help in looking for the cause.

Sleep apnea and snoring are easy to treat. Together with the general practitioner a referral can be made to a sleep centre (hospital or specialist institution), where during a sleep registration(?) a polysomnogram (see intro) can be used to look for a suitable solution. This can indeed be weight loss, or a band around the body that prevents you from sleeping on your back, or a mask that supports breathing during the night. Take it seriously because a good night's sleep can bring you a lot.

Author: Els Moest, Tim Weysen and Tim Leufkens, Philips sleepexperts & Nina de Rooij, PSV lifestyle coach