Sleep Hygiene

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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!


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.