Sleep Hygiene

 Tips from the American Sleep Association:

Maintain a regular sleep routine.

• Go to bed at the same time. Wake up at the same time. Ideally, your schedule will remain the same (+/- 20 minutes) every night of the week.
Avoid naps if possible
• When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep that we need the next night – which may cause sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep

Don’t stay in bed awake for more than
5-10 minutes.

• If you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark. Do your mind racing in the chair until you are sleepy, and then return to bed. No TV or internet during these periods! That will just stimulate your mind, making it difficult to fall asleep.
• If this happens several times during the night, that is OK. Just maintain your regular wake time, and try to avoid naps.

Don’t watch TV or read in bed.

• When you watch TV or read in bed, you associate the bed with wakefulness.
Do not drink caffeine inappropriately
• 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.

Avoid inappropriate substances that interfere with sleep.

• Cigarettes, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications may cause fragmented sleep.
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.

Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom.

• 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.
• Get rid of distractions that will keep you from falling asleep.  For example, if you are a ‘clock watcher’ at night, hide the clock.

Have a comfortable pre-bedtime routine.

• A warm bath, shower
• Meditation, or quiet time