Poor sleep hygiene is a common problem. Below are some essentials of good sleep hygiene:
- Personal Habits
- Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. The body "gets used" to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed. Go to bed and wake up the same time each day, even on weekends and days off. This is an essential component of good sleeping hygiene.
- Avoid napping during the day. The late afternoon for most people is a "sleepy time." If you must take a nap, limit the nap to 30–45 minutes.
- Avoid alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime. While alcohol has an immediate sleep-inducing effect, a few hours later as the alcohol levels in your blood start to fall, there is a stimulant or wake-up effect.
- Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime. This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime. These can affect your ability to stay asleep.
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep. Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bedtime can decrease your ability to fall asleep.
- Sleep Environment
- Use comfortable bedding. Uncomfortable bedding can prevent good sleep.
- Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated. If your bedroom is too cold or too hot, it can keep you awake. A cool (not cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep.
- Block out all distracting noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room. Let your body "know" that the bed is associated with sleeping.
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