Sleep Hygiene - Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep Hygiene - Getting a Good Night's Sleep

1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to help set your natural biological clock. Bright natural light when you first wake up is also helpful to set your natural biological clock.

2. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. This may include taking a warm bath, reading a book, meditation, or stretching. Avoid stimulating activities right before bedtime, including watching TV or discussing a stressful topic. Stop using all light emitting electronics (computer, smartphone, as well as TV) at least 30 minutes before bedtime because the blue light they emit can disrupt sleep by suppressing melatonin production.

3. Avoid moderate to vigorous exercise at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Regular exercise earlier in the day can improve your sleep at night but exercising immediately before bedtime stimulates your body and brain. Talk to your physical therapist about an appropriate exercise program.

4. Avoid caffeinated foods and drinks at least 4 hours before bedtime, including most tea, coffee, chocolate, and soft drinks. Caffeine can cause difficulty falling asleep and increase the number of times you wake up during the night.

5. Don't eat a large meal or spicy food 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Your digestive system slows down while you are sleeping, which can stimulate acid secretions that cause heartburn. A light snack may be helpful if you are hungry. Also avoid drinking excessive liquid 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

6. Refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. Although people may think drinking alcohol causes relaxation before bedtime it can actually increase the number of times you wake up during the night and can cause you to wake up early. Nicotine in cigarettes acts as a stimulant that can cause difficulty falling asleep.

7. Use your bed only for sleep and sexual activity to help train your brain that if you are in your bed, you should be sleeping. Do not eat, work, or watch TV in bed. If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, get out of bed. If you can't get up due to limited mobility or safety concerns, do something relaxing (i.e., relaxation techniques) until you're sleepy.

8. Do not take un-prescribed or over-the-counter sleeping pills.

9. Avoid daytime napping so you are tired at night and can fall asleep easily. If you feel you need to take a nap, limit the nap to 30 minutes and avoid napping in the evening.

10. Make your sleeping environment comfortable and relaxing, as well as dark and quiet. Use ear plugs, light-blocking curtains, or an eye mask if needed. Keep the temperature comfortable, because being too warm or too cold may disturb your sleep. Also, use a comfortable and supportive pillow and mattress.

11. Talk to your doctor or health professional if you still have trouble sleeping.

(Image courtesy of P&G Everyday)

 

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