Viv Hurnen, Counsellor, Cancer Society Wellington.

First and foremost – don’t fret. If you are awake and not able to sleep get up and do something until you feel tired, then head back to bed.

Keep your bed for sex and sleep only, so when you get into bed you’ve trained your brain that this is all about sleep.

Some people have told me that having the radio on very quietly in the background is calming and comforting and helps them to drift back to sleep.

Melatonin is an important hormone which helps you get to sleep. It is produced by a gland in your brain called the pineal gland. Melatonin helps to control your body’s sleep pattern and sleep–wake cycle.

There are many things that can help with the melatonin cycle (and therefore help with sleep) including:

  • getting out into the sunshine during the day
  • no caffeine after midday.
  • turn off your phone, computer screens and TV an hour before going to bed and turn off or dim lights, as they suppress the production of melatonin.
  • foods that contain melatonin include almonds, walnuts, pineapple, rice, sweetcorn, bananas and oranges
  • try a warm, milky drink at bedtime (contains some melatonin but most benefits are the psychologically relaxing effect!)


Other resources

  • Online CDs for relaxation

  • Podcast

Cancer Council NSW



Positive SSL