Sleep is an essential part of feeling well and feeling happy, but almost everyone experiences problems sleeping at some part of their life. Lack of sleep robs you of needed rest. Paying attention to good sleep hygiene is the most important thing you can do to maintain good sleep. The term sleep hygiene refers to a series of habits and rituals that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
There are many medications which are used to treat insomnia, but these tend to be only effective in the short-term. Ongoing use of sleeping pills may lead to dependence and interfere with developing good sleep habits independent of medication, thereby prolonging sleep difficulties.
The following list of sleep hygiene tips can be used to promote sleep:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning
- Set a bedtime early enough to allow you 7 hours of sleep
- Make sure the bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot or too cold
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities such as watching TV. Remove all TVs, computers and other ‘gadgets’ from the bedroom
- Get regular exercise (good evidence that regular exercise improves restful sleep)
- Use a relaxation exercise just before sleep or a relaxation tape
- Try muscle relaxation to help de-stress and unwind e.g. warm bath
- If you lie in bed awake for more than 20-30 mins, get up, go to a different room (or different part of the bedroom) and participate in a quiet activity (e.g. reading), then return to bed when you feel sleepy. Do this as many times as you need
- Establish healthy sleep rituals before bed e.g. warm bath, meditation or quiet time
- Reduce fluid intake before bed
- Have large meals before bedtime
- Have caffeine in the afternoon or evening
- Have alcohol or nicotine just before bed
- Exercise just before bed
- Engage in stimulating activity just before bed e.g. playing computer games, watching an exciting TV program or film
- Take daytime naps or doze off in front of the TV
- No clock watching
- Command yourself to sleep, this only makes the body and mind more alert
For further advice on sleep or other occupational health and wellbeing needs, contact us today for an informal chat.