Healthy Sleep Tips
Healthy sleep habits can make a big
difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often
referred to as having good “sleep hygiene.”
Try to keep the following sleep
practices on a consistent basis:
- Stick to
a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on
the weekends. This helps to regulate your
body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
- Practice a relaxing
bedtime ritual. A
relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright
lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause
excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall
asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
- If you have trouble sleeping,
avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
Power napping may help you get through the day,
but if you find that you can't fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even
short catnaps may help.
daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but
even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of
day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
- Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the
conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between
60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any
noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free
from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This
includes a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using
blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise"
machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress
and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive.
The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life
expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have
comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep
but also free of allergens that might affect you and
objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during
- Use bright light to help
manage your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself
to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes,
and heavy meals in the evening.
Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine
can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from
indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating
large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light
snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
- Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so
spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading.
For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it
hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from
the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have
trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the
middle of the night.
- If you can't sleep, go into
another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and
televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep
and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If
you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping,
omit it from your bedtime routine.
If you’re still having trouble
sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional. You may also
benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you
may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.