Sleep Hygiene

Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to sleep, but there are simple things you can do.

#1

Make your bedroom quiet and comfortable – a cooler room with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If early morning light or if noise bothers you, wear a sleep mask and use earplugs.

#2

Don’t take naps. If you really can’t make it through the day, nap for less than 1 hour, before 3pm.

#3

Beds are for sleeping and sex – don’t watch TV, do work or read in bed. Going to bed becomes a cue it’s time to sleep.

#4

Avoid using your phone or laptop before trying to sleep.  The light from the screen will disrupt the Melatonin (the chemical in your brain which controls sleep/wake cycles) process. Use low wattage/dim lighting or lamps in the evening.

#5

No caffeine (tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks), nicotine or alcohol 4 to 6 hours before bed – caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and stop you falling asleep. Alcohol results in fragmented unrestful sleep.

#6

No exercise four hours before bed – exercise helps you sleep, but timing  is key. Morning or  early afternoon is best.

#7

Create a regular sleep cycle – get up and go to bed the same time every day (even on weekends).

#8

Develop sleep rituals before bed – these become cues it’s time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, have a cup of caffeine free tea or do relaxation exercises. A hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime can help too.

#9

A light snack before bed - if you’re too empty (or too full) it interferes with sleep. Dairy products are a great choice as they contain tryptophan (a natural sleep inducer)…so a warm milk really can help you sleep!

#10

If you can’t sleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy.  No bright lights while you are up - light cues the brain it’s time to wake up.