Logo Kanton Bern / Canton de BerneUniversities of Bern Counselling Centre

Sleep disorders

Do you have problems falling asleep and/or wake up frequently during the night? Below you will find information on sleep disorders. We are also happy to support you in a personal counselling session on the subject of sleep disorders.

Introduction to the topic of sleep

Our sleep influences our well-being and our health. We all know that in addition to various factors, such as genetic aspects, stress and problems can also influence sleep. Problems are often «taken to bed» with us and manifest themselves in the form of intense brooding, also called «racing or repetitive thoughts», which in turn can impact our sleep quality and quantity.

It is completely normal and not a cause for concern if we sleep less before an exam, a presentation, a job interview or an important meeting. But this is only true as long as your sleep returns to normal afterwards.

If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep over a period of four weeks, if you wake up frequently during the night and lie awake for longer periods, you may be suffering from a sleep-onset and sleep-through disorder. During the day, sufferers also experience a significant impairment in their well-being and are often tired.

Often, sleep problems do not occur in isolation, but are precursors or already symptoms of psychological stress or psychological disorder. For example, mood disorders, depressive episodes or even fears and anxiety disorders can be related to sleep problems.

  • If you would like to discuss your sleep problems with a specialist, you are very welcome to contact us. We will advise you free of charge and confidentially.

The following short film (in German) explains what goes on inside us during sleep: 

Tips for better sleep hygiene

There are several ways you can try to improve the quality of your sleep.

  • Get regular sleep

Go to bed at the same time every day and get up at the same time every morning.

  • Pleasant sleeping environment

Set up a comfortable sleeping environment. The room should not be too warm, have no disturbing noises, be darkened, etc.

  • Avoid «power napping» 

A power nap, especially if you have trouble falling asleep, can reduce sleep pressure too early.

  • Only go to bed tired

Only go to bed when you are tired and sleepy. Otherwise, get up again and only go back to sleep when you feel tired.

  • Bed ≠ Sofa 

Aside from sexual activities, use the bed only for sleeping.

  • Get rid of the clock 

Avoid looking at the clock when (not) falling asleep. This often creates pressure and does not help you fall asleep.

  • Make your body tired

Exercise regularly during the day.

  • No stimulants 

Do not consume any caffeinated drinks or medicines four hours before going to bed.

  • Do not smoke 

Refrain from nicotine consumption before bedtime.

  • Do not drink 

Reduce your alcohol consumption or abstain from it altogether if you have trouble sleeping.

  • Relax intentionally 

Practice relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, yoga nidra or autogenic training.

The source of these tips is the website of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM):

Videos for falling asleep (in German)

Try this autogenic training for falling asleep (17 min.):

The following video on the «8-7-4 breathing exercise» can help you fall asleep (2 min. 40 sec.):

  • Counselling services (overview)

  • Strengthen your well-being (overview)

Share this page