Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe good sleeping habits. Many research studies suggest that following these strategies will provide effective, long-term solutions to sleeping difficulties. You may try them with or without the aid of sleeping pills, which are only effective on the short-term and can develop dependence.
- Get regular in sleeping and waking up times, even during weekends and holidays
- Sleep when you feel sleepy. Do not go to bed and stay awake for a long time
- Get up and try again. If you could not sleep in 20 minutes after going to bed, get up and do something quiet or boring, such as reading the phone book. Keep the lights off or dim. Bright lights and doing something interesting will stimulate your brain to stay awake.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine, at least 4 hours before bedtime
- Avoid alcohol. The idea of drinking alcohol before bedtime to relax is a misconception; alcohol can interrupt your sleep quality
- Bed is for sleeping and intimacy. Do not do any other activity, such as reading, watching TV, eating, paying bills, etc. in order to help your body learn the connection between bed and sleep
- Avoid napping during the day. If you cannot help it, take a nap for less than an hour before 3 pm.
- Develop sleeping rituals, such as breathing or stretching exercises or sitting calmly for few minutes before bedtime
- Shower 1-2 hours before bedtime, which will raise your skin temperature and relax your muscles and skin, then you will feel sleepy when your temperature drops.
- Do not watch the clock! Watching the clock will only introduce negative thoughts, such as “Oh, no. It is too late and I cannot sleep. How am I going to wake up early to work?”
- Sleep diary, to keep track of your sleep and wake-up times and monitor your progress
- Exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime
- Eat right, if you cannot sleep on empty stomach, have a light snack before bedtime. A warm glass of milk contains tryptophan, which is a natural sleep inducer
- Sleep in the right place. Sleep in a quiet, cool room with enough blankets to stay warm. Use curtains with black-outs to block lights, or eye masks
- Keep your daily routine. Do not avoid your daily activities even you feel tired. This might worsen insomnia
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