American Sleep Association

Sleep Hygiene Tips

Getting good sleep is important in maintaining health. There are several things that you can do to promote good sleep and sleep hygiene, and ultimately get better sleep.

What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is defined as behaviors that one can do to help promote good sleep using behavioral interventions.

Sleep hygiene tips:

Maintain a regular sleep routine

  • Go to bed at the same time. Wake up at the same time. Ideally, your schedule will remain the same (+/- 20 minutes) every night of the week.

Avoid daytime naps

  • Naps decrease the ‘Sleep Debt’ that is so necessary for easy sleep onset.
  • Each of us needs a certain amount of sleep per 24-hour period. We need that amount, and we don’t need more than that.
  • When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep that we need the next night – which may cause sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep, and may lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation.

Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 5-10 minutes.

  • If you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark. Do your mind racing in the chair until you are sleepy, then return to bed. No TV or internet during these periods! That will just stimulate you more than desired.
  • If this happens several times during the night, that is OK. Just maintain your regular wake time, and try to avoid naps.

Don’t watch TV, use the computer, or read in bed.

Drink caffeinated drinks with caution

  • The effects of caffeine may last for several hours after ingestion. Caffeine can fragment sleep, and cause difficulty initiating sleep. If you drink caffeine, use it only before noon.
  • Remember that soda and tea contain caffeine as well.

Avoid inappropriate substances that interfere with sleep

  • Cigarettes, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications may cause fragmented sleep.

Clean fresh air

  • Crack a window to make sure you have plenty of fresh air
  • If you want to avoid a draft, use an air purifier that removes bacteria and odors from the room air.  

Exercise before 2 pm every day. Exercise promotes continuous sleep.

  • Avoid rigorous exercise before bedtime. Rigorous exercise circulates endorphins into the body which may cause difficulty initiating sleep.

Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom

  • Set your bedroom thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Generally, a little cooler is better than a little warmer.
  • Turn off the TV and other extraneous noise that may disrupt sleep. Background ‘white noise’ like a fan is OK.
  • If your pets awaken you, keep them outside the bedroom.
  • Your bedroom should be dark. Turn off bright lights.
  • Have a comfortable mattress.
  • If your bed partner snores, this could be fragmenting your sleep. Consider snoring remedies to help stop snoring.

If you are a ‘clock watcher’ at night, hide the clock.

Have a comfortable pre-bedtime routine

  • A warm bath, shower
  • Meditation, or quiet time
  • Some find ASMR helpful

Some who are struggling with sleep regularly find it helpful to bookmark this page and review these recommendations regularly. If you accidentally miss some of recommendations, or have a bad night, do not fret. By following these sleep hygiene recommendations, you will help yourself to get into a routine that promotes good sleep opportunities.




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47 comments on “Sleep Hygiene Tips”

  1. Ma'am / sir can you send me scoring scale of sleep hygiene index.... And who is this sleep hygiene index author..... If you have author email ..please send it to me... I want to use only for my study purpose.... Thank you...

  2. I'm 63 and have taken sleep medication, legal or not since a teen. Fall asleep after 7am after trying for hours. Often sleeping every other day. Don't want to go back to any prescription med any more. I am just beginning my attempt at natural sleep. I am trying anything to get circadian back.

  3. I was in a car accident in 1991@ with my injuries I have migraines and horrific nightmares. Along with other body injuries and illness. I must take naps . I actually require more sleep then a normal person because of my facial trauma. Plus the pain at times wakes me or keeps me up. I've tried everything and no improvement. Even sleep aids. Worrying doesn't help either my mind refuses to shut down most nites.Help if u can. Any suggestions are welcomed.

  4. I need the afternoon exercise break to wind down /decompress after work. So if I did exercise before work like at 6am I'd still want to get out again for some activity or I'd just keep on working. I like the light therapy too, especially in winter or I get SADS. I usually aim for 90min of activity to help dampen my anxiety and when I don't exercise I can't relax as well in the evening - I get twitchy, wound up and find projects to do. Often I have to work evenings too - my job is like that. It's better for me to do the work than lie around wakeful worrying that it isn't done. I agree that doing intense exercise late evening doesn't help me sleep but I can't say it's practical to keep to the 'before' 2pm rule especially for people with full time jobs

  5. How do we exercise before 2pm if working full time? I love the after work light therapy and break/transition outdoor exercise offers - I don't think I'd sleep without it!

  6. Following good sleep hygiene tips and getting adequate restful sleep can help improve your overall mood, health, and wellbeing.

  7. We stumbled over here different website and thought I might check things out.

    I like what I see so now i'm following you. Look forward to exploring your web
    page for a second time.

  8. Every night around 3:00 I am awakened by a hot flash. Then I toss and turn from 1 to 21/2 hours. Would it be OK to take a Melatonin at this time? I am 79 years young.

  9. […] With everything that is going on with the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us have found ourselves experiencing high levels of stress. During times like these, even the most resilient amongst us (myself included) may start noticing worsened mental health in the form of increased anxiety and depression. It’s immensely important that during these stressful times we prioritize our mental and physical health (they are one and the same and both influence each other). Here are some tips for staying mentally and physically healthy during this pandemic: 1) Limit your intake of news and social media. You can not avoid hearing about Coronavirus as it’s essentially taken over every news outlet and social media platform. Spending hours watching TV or reading things online about Coronavirus will likely only make you feel more and more anxious. If you can’t stop completely, try and limit yourself to watching news and surfing social media for 20 minutes daily. 2) Sleep! Sleep is always important, and I like to say that it’s the literal foundation of your health. However, during these stressful times, sleep becomes even more important! Getting an adequate quantity of quality sleep will improve your mental health and boost your immune system.

  10. I'm a life-long insomniac. I've tried the gamut of pharmaceuticals. They don't work and are a waste of money. I was on benzodiazepines for 15 years and have been weening off of klonopin for the last year. I have gotten down to 0.25 mg/night from 3 mg per night and have been at this level for about 3 months. However, I'm sleeping very little. I fall a sleep for 1-2 hours, then I wake up for a few hours. If I fall back asleep, it is for another 1-2 hours and then time to get up. This repeats every night. I don't remember the last time that I slept for 4 hours straight. I'm starting to worry about my health, my blood pressure is higher than ever and I don't know what to do.

    I've tried all the sleep hygiene stuff and some of it helps a little bit. Eliminating blue light, caffeine, alcohol and substances is good. Also, maintaining a regular sleep schedule is helpful. Keeping the room at cool temperatures is a good idea too. The 5-10 minutes in bed is just annoying to read. I've tried this many times and getting out of bed and sitting upright just seems to wake me up.

    I get narcolepsy during the day because I don't get quality sleep. I worry that I will loose my job if someone sees me nodding off. So, I try to avoid naps, but I nod off.

    I'm 40 years old and have only seen my insomnia get worse as I age. My problem seems to be that I have a very active mind. Even my dreams, good or bad, prevent me from sleeping. I wake up most nights, after an hour or two, from having extremely vivid dreams. I'm so frustrated and I don't know what to do about it. It just seems hopeless.

    Any ideas or suggestions?

    1. Try any type of meditation.
      It will take time to adjust your mind with meditation.
      It works as wonders for racing mind and sleep.

    2. Please ask your doctor to try Lexapro. It is an antidepressant also prescribed for anxiety disorders. Unlike benzos, it is very safe to use long term. It completed changed my life and allowed me to fall asleep like a regular person.

  11. I have had severe sleeping problems for years to the extent where I am almost unable to function during the day, that is I over-sleep quite chronically. I have, in the past been diagnosed with chronic pyschiatric conditions, which may well be a factor in these areas, if not the factor. These involve the use of medications to allegedly asssist them. I am at my wits end, as I simply cannot get out of bed in the mornings, and fuction, DURING The day- I tend to be quite good during the evening periods, but most jobs require you to work during day-time hours.

  12. I know this sounds silly but what if you’re afraid of the dark? Yes I’m a 34 almost 35 year old adult but I live alone with an active imagination and I seem to scare myself with things I see on tv and movies. I’ve been diagnosed with insomnia so laying in the dark is a no no, so I sleep with my tv on. How do I get more sleep without being scared AND sleeping in the dark. Pls help

    1. Bedroom temperature should be little towards colder side. If I am hungry, it is little difficult for me to sleep, if you take super too early, take it near sleep time and see if it helps. Follow the other tips too in this article.

    2. TVs and movies are considered blue lights. They will stimulate u, making u harder to sleep. Find more on red led light therapy or lavander like glow lullaby or glow dreaming

  13. I have mega problems trying to sleep,tried all the medications which do not work.
    I'm 71years old and have never fallen asleep naturally.
    I seem to fight it.
    Tried Hypno one session,no luck I'm afraid.
    Can you help please.

    1. Perhaps you are saying that even prescription medicines don't help you sleeping. Is it true. Have your doctor ruled out any thyroid problem?

  14. I appreciate you talked about how TV and internet will only stimulate you more and make it harder to sleep. My aunt is looking to find a sleep disorder clinic for her teenage son. I think I will talk to her about finding a clinic who will also help her son avoid gaming before bed.

  15. m

    I'm from Adelaide in Australia I will contact Dr Marcia Lindsey in the hope that she could recommend someone over here that specializes in sleep disorders. I am 61 and years ago was diagnosed with ADHD along with my son.
    We have both always had trouble sleeping but this site has given us food for thought. It seems that I am doing everything to make the situation worse. Drinking tea and alcohol, smoking and not exercising nearly enough. At the moment it is 3 am and here I am sitting in front of the computer, wrong again. I have quite a bit of work to do on my sleep hygiene but I'm sure it will help.


  16. I’m 66 and have been taking sleeping pills every night since the age of 18 that’s 48 Years. My insomnia began when I started working nights and could not sleep during the day. Took over the counter drugs, Formula 44 cough medicine, prescription drugs such as restoril, ambien, halcion, dalmane and throughout most of my life I’ve combined the pills with Benadryl 50 g. I still have trouble sleeping and the little I get is fragmented, have trouble falling asleep and waking up numerous times. I have heard of sleep hygiene but have not done entirely. I stay in bed awake cause I’m tired both at night and in the morning. I’ve had no success trying to lower the dosage on the pills, cause I get anxiety attacks, raising my heart. I wish I could find a clinic or medical trial where I can go for a couple of weeks to help me. I worked 35 horrible years with this chronic insomnia and I thought when I retired at 55 I would get better because I didn’t have the stress of waking up early but to no avail. I wll try the sleep hygiene. Thank you. Any advice will be appreciated.

    1. Evelyn,
      There is help for you. Medical doctors in the Houston Med Center in Texas refer patients to Dr Marcia Lindsey, in Bellaire Texas - a clinical psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am sure she would be able to refer you to someone in your local area. You will need to be monitored by an MD to wean from your current medications. With this assistance, you will succeed - and you'll be so very happy that you did!!
      Happy Retirement!

    2. It seems you have become addicted to sleeping medicines. Ask your doctomirtazapiner to give you mirtazapine which is an antidepressant with sedative properties but doesn't cause addiction. with it also try to taper off the medicines you are currently taking for sleep and of course use the tips given in this article.

      1. I excersize in the morning at a gym 5 minutes down the road from home
        My issue is that I work in the city
        So I go to bed around 930 pm ( would be difficult to go to bed earlier due to my toddler) wake up a 440 am
        Excersize , and take a train to the city at 715 AM
        I then nap during the 45 minute train ride
        My issue is... what do I do the mornings that I don't excersize and ... the weekends
        It would be crazy to wake up 440 Saturday morning and then take the same nap at 715
        Due to this crazy schedule my sleep schedule is thrown off
        Need help

        1. I have read that you should keep the same sleep schedule all the time. I worked as a night nurse in my younger and wasn't about to sleep during the day on my off days but back then I really didn't have a sleep problem. Now I can stay an a set sleep schedule but can't sleep! I don't know if it is just because I am old or if it is caused from my previous schedules. ??

  17. Sorry to hear about your rough night Eric. Thats interesting about the caffeine though. I don't think I've heard of that before. Caffeine doesn't really affect me one way or the other, but if it does anything, it keeps my mind racing. But since caffeine has a half life of 8 hours...i try to make noon my caffeine cutoff time anyway.
    Instrumental music? Absolutely. Music is can be so key to calming our minds. Turn off the TV or other screens...lower the lights and turn on the music softly. I do that, and its lights out. Give it a shot.
    I really think thats the key for many of us that have trouble falling asleep...getting the mind to quiet down. Music definitely has that affect for lots of people I know.
    As mentioned above...the warm bath is great and so is turning down the temp in your room. I say go even cooler, maybe around 66-68 or so.
    I threw together my own sleep hygiene list. Check it out if you want. Its just a list of things that have worked for me in the past.
    Good luck to you.

  18. Tonight is a failed night. Knew some of this stuff, but not all. Trying to kick long term benzo use makes it extra fun

    Going to write tonight off as a failure and start implementing missing bits tomorrow. Three questions, I have ADHD so the ten minute thing isn't all that possible for me typically - it can take twice that long just to calm my brain down. Should I change anything about that?

    Plus for white noise, can instrumental music work?

    And last question, caffiene works differently on me due to my ADHD - it actually puts me to sleep (have used it a fair few times as a sleep aid before I fell down the benzo rabbithole, and before I knew caffiene had this effect, I have passed right out even mid day from high caffiene drinks, once even having to fight against passing out from an energy drink). Since it has a proven history with sedating me, can I use it short term to deak with my rebound insomnia from the benzos? Or should I just treat it as a "perk" that lets me get away with caffiene later and not intentionally use it to prevent dependance? Sorry if I seem like I'm overexplaining the caffiene stuff, I have found a fair few people don't believe the caffiene thing due to its whole counterintuitiveness

    1. I wanted to let you know that I also have severe ADHD and my kids as well, and you are not alone with the sugar and caffeine issue. Its makes us tired as well, where regular food would make us hyper and excited. You are not alone.

    2. Caffeine can have the opposite affect on some people with ADHD, it is why stimulants are given to treat ADHD. It can actually mellow you out and is not always a bad thing. If used for sleep remember to just not go overboard with it, or you can get use to it and develop headaches when you don't use it.

  19. nice warm cup of organic almond milk before laying down, eases the stomach and reduces inflamation for those of you that are late night workers, grabbing something on thee way home. sleepy time warm teas relaxes you but keep in tea mind if you dont mind getting up for the bathroom. almond milk is the best. Just 40 calories!

  20. I find that a nice hot shower at night time is a valuable part of my pre bedtime sleep hygiene ritual. I make sure that my phone is in the bathroom and not in the bedroom. Temperature on thermostat is set for 71 degrees. All lights are turned off and clock is not visible. This helps me to sleep better.

  21. I sleep at night about from 5 until 2am. I am trying to get myself to sleep a whole night kind of like 9 to 5am and I do not klnow how!!

    Shawn Stopper

    1. Shawn, you sleep from 5 pm to 2 am? Have you tried just slowly shifting your bedtime? Like from 5 pm to 5.30 pm? Or if that's too much, try from 5 pm to 5.15? Keep that for 2-3 days, then shift your bedtime again by the same amount? Eventually you'll move your bedtime over to when you want it to be and hopefully you'll sleep until 6 am. Since you're moving your bedtme by 4 hours, you'd want to move your wake time by 4 hours too which would mean 6 am.

  22. Helpful tips! I'm used to suffer from insomnia before I came up with this post. One more note is that not all tea contain caffeine such as green tea. It actually helps you sleep better.

      1. They sell decaf green tea, but you have to look for it as the most common green teas have caffeine. I have to tell you tho, that hot herbal tea at bedtime just ensures that I will have to get up 2 hours later for a bathroom visit. Several teas are natural diuretics so keep that in mind!

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