“Sleep Hygiene is a term used to describe good sleep habits,” says Katelyn Millinor. Considerable research has gone into developing a set of guidelines and tips which are designed to improve sleep. There are many medications which can help sleep disturbance but these tend to be effective in the short-term. Talk to your health care professional about what is right for you but we recommend good sleep hygiene as an important factor in treatment of sleeping difficulties.
Try some of our tips below:
- Get up at the same time every day. One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at the same time every day (even on the weekends). This regular rhythm will help you feel better and help to set your biological clock.
- Exercise – get moving. Regular exercise is a good idea to help with sleep. Exercise makes it easier to initiate sleep and deepen sleep. Avoid exercising 3-4 hours before bed time. Morning walks are a great way to start the day feeling refreshed.
- Don’t lay in bed awake. Get up and try again. If you have not been able to fall asleep after about 15-20 minutes, get up and do something calming or boring until you feel sleepy again (in another room if possible). Sit quietly on the couch, read something.
- Limit light. Avoid turning on overhead lights or lamps. Avoid utilizing screen-time on cell phones, computers, or televisions as blue light from these devices impact sleep.
- Avoid clock watching. Many people who struggle with sleep often watch the clock too much. Frequently checking the clock can wake you up more and reinforce negative thoughts.
- Eat Regularly. A healthy, balanced diet will help you to sleep well but timing is important. Do not go to bed hungry as hunger may disturb sleep. A heavy meal before bed may also disturb sleep so a light snack can help. Avoid greasy or heavy foods near bedtime.
- Bed is for sleeping. Use your bed only for sleeping and sexual activity. This helps condition body and brain. Avoid watching television, eating, or working in bed.
- No naps. It is best to avoid taking a nap during the day to make sure you are tired at bedtime. If you must take a nap, make sure it is only for 20-60 minutes and is 6-7 hours or more before bedtime (usually no naps after 3:00PM).
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. It is best to avoid these things 4-6 hours before going to bed. These substances act as a stimulant and interfere with the ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Avoid excess liquids in the evening. Reducing liquid intake will minimize night-time trips to the bathroom.
- The right environment. It is important that your bed and bedroom are comfortable for sleeping. A cool, quiet, and dark environment is best. This will reduce the likelihood of waking up later during the night.
- Bath time. Having a hot shower or bath 1-2 hours before bedtime can be helpful and relaxing.
- Sleep rituals. Having a routine prior to bedtime can prepare the body and mind for sleep. You can develop your own ritual of things such as stretching, baths, or breathing exercises.
- Keep daytime routines the same. Even if you had a bad night sleep and are tired it is important to try to keep daytime activities the same. If you avoid planned activities this can reinforce your sleep disturbance.
As always, if you are trying these tips with little or no success, give your provider at call at NOAH and we’ll gladly meet with you to discuss options in achieving a good night’s rest. At NOAH, we’ll work with you and your child to choose the best path for their overall health and wellness.