Sleep hygiene is a routine of different practices that are necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness. Good sleep hygiene increases the quality and consistency of your restfulness.
Here are some tips for creating a great sleep hygiene routine:
Create comfortable sleeping conditions. Keep the room as quiet and dark as possible (except soothing noise) .
Get up the same time every day, even weekends.
Limit total in-bed time to only the hours dedicated to sleep. Avoid using the bed for chilling out or work. Associating the bed only with sleep will help allow your brain to get into sleep mode more quickly and easily.
Light tells the brain to it's time to wake up. Avoid light stimulation after 8pm (TV, computer games). Substitute reading, radio. If late night backlit screens are absolutely unavoidable, keep them out of the bed and turn the brightness to the lowest setting.
Avoid trying to make yourself fall asleep. If unable to sleep, get up and leave the room. Stay up until you are definitely sleepy and then return to bed. If sleep does not come easily, get out of bed again. The goal is to associate your bed with falling asleep quickly.
No clock watching. Better yet, cover the clock face!
Avoid napping during the day. It can disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
Reduce and/or eliminate all brain-activating drugs (including caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, chocolate, and stimulants). While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it disrupts sleep in the second half as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing arousal.
Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.
Food can be disruptive right before sleep. Stay away from large meals close to bedtime. Also dietary changes can cause sleep problems. And, remember, chocolate has caffeine!
Ensure adequate exposure to natural light. This is particularly important for older people who may not venture outside as frequently as children and adults. Light exposure helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep. Don't dwell on, or bring your problems to bed.
Sleep is critical for a healthy mind and body. Following even a few of these suggestions will help improve your overall health and well being.