At times I find myself struggling with insomnia. On a daily basis, I speak with patients about their struggles with sleep. For this reason, I thought it important to stress the practices of “sleep hygiene”. As I write this, I realize I need to practice what I preach.

 

13 simple steps to sleep hygiene:

  1. Follow a consistent sleep-wake schedule
  2. Avoid afternoon naps
  3. Exercise daily
  4. Avoid nicotine products
  5. Avoid caffeinated products
  6. Expose yourself to natural light (sunshine) every day. Of course, protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
  7. Limit alcohol as it can lead to fragmented sleep
  8. Avoid heavy meals at night and try to eat at least 2-3 hours before lying down
  9. Relax in the evening. After dinner I recommend you perform activities that promote feelings of relaxation (yoga, stretching, reading, light music, etc.)
  10. Limit screen time in the evening and night
  11. Create a good sleep environment — create a dark, cool, quiet bedroom. Turn off all electronics
  12. Get up if you can’t sleep — if you have been awake for more than 20 minutes and you can’t turn off your mind, get up and engage in a relaxing activity until you feel tired again and then return to bed.
  13. The bedroom and bed are for sleeping and sex — avoid performing other activities in bed (i.e. — reading, watching TV, looking at cell phone/iPAD/computer)

Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic website for information on healthy sleep habits. I always find the Mayo Clinic as a good resource.