A good night’s sleep prepares you for the day ahead. If worry and pain is unsettling your sleep, you could try:

  • Valerian – a herbal relaxant which helps aid sleep
  • Biofeedback – talk to your doctor about options
  • Self relaxation techniques (including abdominal breathing and deep breathing, visualisation, listening to calming music, reading before sleep, and taking a hot bath)
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Multiple pillows, and pillows of good quality with neck support. If you wish to make a normal pillow more supportive for your neck, roll a towel into a cylinder so it measures about 4 inches across and is the length of your pillow. Place this inside your pillowcase at the edge of the pillow
  • Proper neck support whilst sleeping is important – experiment and find a position that is comfortable and provides good support for your neck
  • Talk to your GP about exchanging rigid splints with a folded bath towel wrapped round the arm and elbow (not too tightly), or using soft splints or gloves.

Sleep-inducing drugs are not recommended except for short periods under a doctor’s supervision. Some people with RSI find a TENS machine enables them to sleep by minimising the pain. For ongoing sleep problems, use a routine to wind down before sleep, and make a regular time to both go to sleep and wake up.

Sleep routine

  • Relax and get ready for sleep by winding down with an hour of television, reading or listening to music before bedtime
  • ‘Switch off’ from the day’s activities and problems. If necessary, make a list of all the things on your mind, and decide to deal with them the next day
  • If you have trouble ‘switching off’ at night, learn a relaxation technique and practice it before using it to help you get to sleep
  • Make sure your bed and bedroom are not too hot nor too cold

At bedtime

  • Develop a bedtime routine (warm bath, snack, clean teeth, etc) and carry it out every night. Your body will learn to recognise that it is time for sleep
  • Go to bed only when you feel sleepy
  • Don’t read or watch television in your bedroom
  • Enjoy relaxing in bed even if you don’t fall asleep immediately
  • If you can’t fall asleep or get back to sleep, think of pleasant things
  • Get up at the same time each morning, even if you feel tired. This also helps your body develop a regular routine for sleep

Useful sleep websites

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