Sleep Hygiene Guidelines

By Bill Lam –

The following points may serve as reminders of how to get into sleep easier –

1. Don’t bring your work or problems to bed –

This is the first important thing you have to do, remember to unwind yourself. Find out what’s in your mind or ask yourself what is bothering you.

If you can’t find a solution, write your problem on a notepad and solve it tomorrow. If you have something you have to do, write them all down on a to-do-list dated for tomorrow.

It is impossible to have a restful sleep if your mind is still sorting questions and making decisions when in bed.

2. Get the right amount of sleep –

You must get approximately seven to eight hours or the amount of sleep that is enough for yourself. And keep the right amount of sleep every day. Sleep is a priority, not something you will do after finishing everything else.

3. Maintain regular bedtimes and wake times every day –

Work with your biological or circadian rhythms.

4. Do not read books in bed –

Turn off the light, keep the bedroom dark, don’t talk on the phone in bed, the thing you do should be associated with bed, make it ready for sleep.

5. Relax yourself in the evening –

Slow walk after dinner, do deep breathing exercise and meditation before bedtime may help you sleep better. Natural sleep aids are better than prescription sleeping pills. Avoid exciting conversations or television programs.

6. Cut back on smoking, alcohol and caffeine products two to three hours before bedtime.

7. Don’t take long naps during the day –

I find taking short nap for 5 to 20 minutes, if the time allows, this one short nap during the day works wonders, it refreshes my brain and find it more energetic after the nap in the afternoon.

A lot of other people don’t suggest taking naps because it would break the sleep or circadian cycle and make you wide awake in bed at night.

The nap time really depends on the individual’s need. I find taking short naps is suitable for me and it doesn’t affect my sleep pattern at night.

8. Eat only sparingly before bedtimes –

Eat a piece of cracker and a small glass of warm milk is all to it, only when you really have to. Eating too much before sleep is not even healthy, extra calories would be stored as fat in your body, and the undigested food would disrupt with your sleep.

9. Be peaceful with yourself –

Be prepared to go to sleep, create some patterns that would represent a ritual before sleeping, like having a cup of light decaffeinated herbal tea and sitting back relaxing, taking a hot bath, listening to soft music… you do it every time before you go to bed, it sets in your mind that it is a winding down process and a pre-sleep routine.

10. Not to worry about not getting enough sleep –

If you keep following and practicing the good sleep hygiene which is one of the practical sleep aids, you will catch up with your sleep and have enough sleep.

11. Surroundings and sleeping environment –

Noise, comfort of the mattress, light and temperature of the room etc., that all would affect the quality of your sleep, make changes if necessary, for example, the mattress is too hard to sleep on, you may then consider getting a softer one.

12. Prescription and other drugs –

Some drugs and medicine may affect your sleep, discuss with your doctor for advices.

13. Increase your daytime activities and exercises –

And wind down in the evening.

14. Consistency

Be consistent with your schedule, that is going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time is much better than trying to catch up on lost sleep by napping at odd times during the day.

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