Proper Sleep Hygiene

Proper Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene helps you stay healthy by keeping your mind and body rested and strong. Following these tips will help you sleep better and feel your best.

Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy

If you are not sleepy at bedtime, then do something else. Read a book, listen to soft music or browse through a magazine. Find something relaxing, but not stimulating, to take your mind off of worries about sleep. This will relax your body and distract your mind.

If you are not asleep after 20 minutes, then get out of the bed

Find something else to do that will make you feel relaxed. If you can, do this in another room. Your bedroom should be where you go to sleep. It is not a place to go when you are bored. Once you feel sleepy again, go back to bed.

Begin rituals that help you relax each night before bed

This can include such things as a warm bath, light snack or a few minutes of reading.

Get up at the same time every morning

Do this even on weekends and holidays.

Avoid taking naps

If you must take a nap, try to keep it short (less than one hour). Never take a nap after 3 p.m.

Keep a regular schedule

Regular times for meals, medications, chores, and other activities help keep the inner body clock running smoothly.

Don’t read, write, eat, watch TV, talk on the phone, work on the computer or cell phone in bed. 
Do not have any caffeine after lunch. Do not have a beer, a glass of wine, or any other alcohol within 2-3 hours of your bedtime. Do not have a cigarette or any other source of nicotine before bedtime. Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal near bedtime either.

Avoid any tough exercise within six hours of your bedtime

You should exercise on a regular basis, but do it earlier in the day.

Try to get rid of or deal with things that make you worry

If you are unable to do this, then find a time during the day to get all of your worries out of your system. Your bed is a place to rest, not a place to worry.

Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and a little bit cool

An easy way to remember this: it should remind you of a cave. While this may not sound romantic, it seems to work for bats. Bats are champion sleepers. They get about 16 hours of sleep each day. Maybe it’s because they sleep in dark, cool caves.

Dr. Ashwin Gowda
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