Sleep Hygiene Tips

Getting good sleep is important in maintaining health. There are several things that you can do to promote good sleep, 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 naps if possible

  • 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.

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 or read in bed.

  • When you watch TV or read in bed, you associate the bed with wakefulness.
  • The bed is reserved for two things – sleep and hanky panky.

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.
  • coffee-caffeine

Avoid inappropriate substances that interfere with sleep

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

Exercise regularly

  • 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.

    exercise and sleep
    exercise and 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 you are a ‘clock watcher’ at night, hide the clock.

circadian rhythm

Have a comfortable pre-bedtime routine

  • A warm bath, shower
  • Meditation, or quiet time

Some who are struggling with sleep regularly find it helpful to print out these recommendations and read them 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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10 thoughts on “Sleep Hygiene Tips

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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