Sleep Hygiene Tips to help you sleep better
Following these sleep hygiene tips can make a difference in the quality of your sleep
Do you think you're maintaining a healthy sleep habit?
Your behavior when you're awake can have a major impact on how and when you get your sleep. That's why it's important that you pay attention to your actions during the day, especially before bedtime, as it can affect how easily you'll fall asleep, stay asleep and whether you can get restful sleep.
Follow these basic sleep hygiene tips that sleep technologists recommend to patients before recommending medical treatment for sleep disorders.
1. Maintain a regular sleep routine
Try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. And this includes the week days and the weekends. While always going to bed on the same exact time may be difficult, try to stay within a 20 minute time frame of wake and sleep time you've decided to stick with.
2. Avoid napping during the afternoon and evening
Naps can actually be good for you, especially when you have accumulated sleep debt from nights before. However, keep in mind that everyone of us need a certain amount of sleep during a 24-hour period.
Napping too much beyond that daily requirement can disrupt how consistent your sleep can be. When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep we need the next night, which can cause those who already have trouble falling asleep, even more difficulty in doing so.
3. Can't fall asleep in bed within the first 5 to 10 minutes? Get out of bed.
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, unable to get some shut-eye, we recommend that you get out of bed.
Your bed should be a place where you rest and sleep, so being awake and stressing out weakens your body's association with bed as a place of sleep and rest.
If you're thinking of stressful thoughts, get out of bed and sit in a chair or do something (besides exercise) that will make you sleepy.
We discourage you from going on the Internet or watching TV, why? We'll explain in the next sleep hygiene tip below.
If this happens several times during the night, that is OK. Just maintain your regular wake time, and try to avoid naps.
4. Avoid smartphones, TV and any kind of back-lit device before bed
When you watch TV or read in bed, you associate the bed with wakefulness (as we mentioned in the previous point before). Studies have also found that back-lit devices actually disrupt sleep more than we thought it would.
That's why we recommend you to unplug and wind down before drifting off into sleep.
5. Avoid the inappropriate use of caffeine
The effects of caffeine may last for several hours after ingestion. Caffeine can fragment sleep, and cause difficulty initiating sleep. If you drink caffeine, use it only before noon.
Remember that soda and tea contain caffeine as well.
6. Avoid inappropriate substances that interfere with sleep
Cigarettes, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications may cause fragmented sleep. Avoid them before going to bed, and no, drinking alcohol before bed does not help you sleep better.
8. Exercise regularly
Exercise before 2 pm every day. Exercise promotes continuous sleep. Avoid rigorous exercise before bedtime. Rigorous exercise circulates endorphins into the body which may cause difficulty initiating sleep.
9. Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom
There are several ways you can make your bedroom a bit more welcoming to sleep than it already is.
- Set your bedroom thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Generally, a little cooler is better than a little warmer.
- Turn off the TV and other extraneous noise that may disrupt sleep. Background ‘white noise’ like a fan is OK.
- If your pets awaken you, keep them outside the bedroom.
- Your bedroom should be dark. Turn off bright lights.
- Make sure you have a mattress that is comfortable to you.
- Hide clocks if you happen to find yourself watching them at night.
10. Have a comfortable pre-bedtime routine
Try using these relaxation techniques to help yourself wind down before bed such as: taking a warm bath or shower, or meditating or having some quiet time before bed.
Interested in learning more about how you can feel better after a night of sleep? Read about our tips to feeling better after you sleep as well as tips for your family members on getting better sleep.