Congratulations! You have already taken the first step to address your sleep concerns by going through this module. Here are some things to keep in mind and help answer any lingering questions.
Healthy Sleep Tips
Here are some more simple healthy sleep tips to add to your routine:
- Identify and rid of barriers to restful sleep such as caffeine, long naps, use of electronics at bedtime
- Reduce time in bed awake to increase sleepiness.
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on the weekends.
- Keep your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy, do not work, watch TV, or eat in bed.
- Do not watch the clock to prevent anxiety or pressure to fall asleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
- Avoid smoking, especially in the evening since nicotine often disturbs sleep.
- Avoid greasy or "heavy" foods close to bedtime, but ensure your eating habits are regulated so hunger does not disturb your sleep.
- Limit excessive fluid consumption close to bedtime to limit the need for nighttime bathroom trips.
- Get regular exercise to improve sleep quality and increase sleepiness. It is best if you finish exercising at least two hours before bedtime. A hot shower or bath after exercise may further promote deep sleep.
- Limit noise distractions by sleeping in a well-insulated room or using ear plugs or a white noise source.
- Keep your room dark and cool. Use light-blocking curtains or eye covers, if needed.
- Restrict your time in bed to only the amount of sleep you need to feel refreshed the next day and limit fragmented, shallow sleep. On average, adults require 7.5-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Reserve an hour before bedtime to wind down. Put away electronic devices and engage in relaxing, restful activities like reading or meditation.
- Do not take problems to bed. If you need time to process your thoughts or plan the next day, reserve 15-30 minutes beforehand to make a "worry list" or "To Do list" to address after a restful slumber.
- If you are having difficulty falling asleep, get out of bed. When you try harder to fall asleep, it often makes it more frustrating and difficult to do so. Leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing like reading in dim light. Return to bed only once you feel sleepy and wake up at your usual wake time.
If you would like a print-out copy of these healthy sleep tips, click here. Remember these recommendations are to help promote good sleep. If you have a sleeping disorder like insomnia, then implementing these alone may not treat your condition. If no improvement has been achieved after 2-4 weeks, seek proper treatment. Make sure to discuss your concerns with your provider.
Truth or Myth?
Implementing better sleep hygiene can treat insomnia
Myth! Although it is beneficial for all to adopt healthy sleep hygiene practices, insomnia cannot be treated with better sleep hygiene alone. Often times, people will come to their provider with concerns of insomnia because "they've tried everything," and they continue to experience symptoms of insomnia.
It is okay to sleep with your cell phone even if you don't use it before bedtimeMyth! Watch Dr. Charles Czeisler describe the negative effectives of sleeping with your cell phone.
Dr. Charles Czeisler describes how sleeping with your cell phone can worsen sleep.