Sleep hygiene involves more than brushing your teeth before bed. Here are some tips for creating a physical and mental state conducive to a restful night's sleep.
Create a Sleep Environment
- Block out excess light with heavy shades or drapes, and noise-proof your space with the hum of a fan or earplugs
- Use your bed and bedroom only for sleeping; don't complete activities such as paying bills in bed
Follow a Regular Schedule
- Settle into bed and wake at the same time each day, even on weekends
- Limit naps to no more than an hour, and never nap later than mid-afternoon
- Exercise in the late afternoon can be a great way to unwind, but don't exercise right before bed, which can be energizing
Developing a relaxing ritual is a key step to sleep hygiene. Get into a regular schedule of relaxing pre-sleep behavior. Set your worries aside each night by writing down concerns or your "to-do list" for the next day. Take a warm bath or have a hot cup of herbal tea. Listening to quiet music or reading under a soft light can also be helpful.
Be Mindful of What & When You Eat or Drink
- Large meals right before bed may make you drowsy, but digestion can cause a restless night
- An empty stomach can also keep you awake
- Avoid caffeine for 6 hours before bedtime
- Remember that in addition to coffee - tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and some drugs include caffeine; stick to herbal teas and other caffeine-free beverages in the evening hours
- Avoid alcohol before bed it may help you fall asleep, but can cause disturbances later in the night
- Nicotine in tobacco may also keep you awake, so don't smoke