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Sleep Hygiene: How to Sleep Better

Good sleep is influenced by many factors. Below is a review of things that are known to make sleep worse and better. Consider changes that you can make to improve your sleep.

Things That Make Sleep Worse

• Napping during the day

• Consuming caffeine such as coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and even chocolate

  • How many drinks with caffeine do you have each day and what size are they?
  • When do you drink caffeine? It is best to not consume after 2pm
  • Remember that some headache medications contain caffeine

• Consuming alcohol or nicotine within 2 hours of bedtime

• Watching television or using a laptop/tablet in bed/before bedtime

• Eating a heavy meal within 3 hours of sleep

  • Light snack is acceptable, do not want to go to sleep hungry

• Staying in bed even when you can’t fall asleep

  • If you are not asleep after 20-30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you are ready to sleep (e.g., reading, calming music)

Things That Make Sleep Better

• Exercising and engaging in physical activities regularly

  • It is best not to exercise within 3 hours of bedtime

• Having a regular routine

  • Go to sleep and wake up around the same time each night
  • Using relaxation techniques (e.g., deep breathing, guided imagery)
  • Take a warm bath or shower 2-3 hours before bedtime

• Setting aside a scheduled time for ‘worry’ each day

  • Write down any issues that are bothering or concerning you at least 2 hours before bedtime
  • If you begin to think of these things in bed, remember that you have spent time on them already and that you will leave them behind until tomorrow

• Making your bedroom comfortable

  • Keep room dark and cool
  • Have extra pillows and/or soothing smells

• Using the bed only for sleep and sex

• Waking around the same time each day

Breaking bad sleep habits and adopting better ones can have a positive impact on the quality of your sleep. Remember: Making even small changes can make a big difference!