Poor sleep habits (referred to as hygiene) are among the most common problems encountered in our society. We interrupt our sleep with drugs, chemicals and work, and we overstimulate ourselves with late-night activities such as television. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to sleep. There are things that you can do. Many of these steps seem like common sense. But it is surprising how many of these important steps are ignored by many of us.
- Avoid napping during the day: it can disturb the normal pattern of sleep
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime.
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed
- Reserve the bed for sleep. Don’t use the bed as an office, to talk on the phone,watch TV etc. Let your body know that the bed is associated with sleeping.
- 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 (cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep
- Set a bedtime and an awakening time The body “gets used” to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively set.
- Don’t take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about job, school, or daily activities behind when you go to bed.
- Develop sleep rituals. It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes.
- Have a light snack before bed. If your stomach is too empty, it can interfere with sleep. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, that can interfere as well.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. This reduces the time you are awake in bed.
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