Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene: Environment

  • Ensure good daylight/sunlight during waking hours
  • Keep your bedroom for sleep and intimacy only
  • Promote a sense of calm in the bedroom
  • Reduce noise at bedtime
  • Reduce or dim the lights at night time to clearly demonstrate night and day
  • Reduce the light intensity to promote melatonin production – use light dimmer switches/hue white smart bulbs
  • Use black out blinds, eye masks, ear plugs, thick curtains
  • Reduce blue-light emitting devices. Banish screens – TV, smartphones, bright lights. Wear blue light blocking glasses several hours before bedtime
  • Ensure adequate room temperature – keep the room below 70 degrees
  • Use cooling/temperature control pillows and blankets
  • Manage humidity and ventilation – open windows/use an air purifier
  • Keep windows closed during peak pollen season
  • Dust and sweep once a week and wash bedding regularly
  • Keep pets off beds and use a mattress protector/encasement to minimise bed bugs, allergens, dust mites, sweat etc
  • Keep a soft but firm mattress and use pressure relieving aids where necessary
  • Ensure you have the correct pillow to optimise good neck support/shoulder support/positioning
  • Use gentle music, aromatherapy, mood lights etc to promote calming environment
  • Use sleep aids where necessary
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Sleep hygiene: Behaviour

  • Ensure you get some good exercise during the daytime
  • Start to wind down before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine or alcohol
  • Manage nocturnal toileting – reduce drinking/caffeine after 7pm
  • Do not go to bed hungry BUT avoid heavy meals within 2 hours of bedtime
  • Avoid energetic exercise within 2 hours of bedtime
  • Drink a warm, milky drink or herbal tea (non-caffeinated) before bed
  • Listen to calming music
  • Do NOT clock watch
  • If you wake for longer than 20 minutes then get up
  • Optimise management of medical conditions/pain (via GP)
  • Optimise management of allergies (anti-histamine; hypo-allergenic pillow)
  • Use relaxation and mindful breathing techniques to relax the body

Sleep hygiene: Thinking

  • Avoid high drama and any sources of stress before bedtime
  • Try not to worry – the more you worry the more likely you are to wake up
  • Keep a diary or notepad by your bed to jot down your thoughts
  • Utilise ‘to do’ lists for the following day
  • Cut back on the news/social media before bed
  • Use Meditation/Relaxation/Distraction Techniques to calm the mind and manage over-thinking

Sleep hygiene: Routines & Habits

  • Keep to a normal daily routine
  • Develop a bedtime ritual or routine
  • Have a warm bath or shower before bed – this will trigger the body to lower its internal temperature
  • Maintain a regular bedtime
  • Wake up at the same time every day
  • Resist the temptation to sleep during the day – avoid naps
  • Stick to your regular sleeping hours – minimise lie ins
  • Keep a sleep diary or use  sleep tracker

Evaluate

What is contributing to your sleep problems?

  • Sleep preparation
  • Sleep participation
  • Sleep latency 
  • Sleep quality
  • Sleep duration
  • Impact of work, life events, relationships, responsibilities, stress
  • Impact of environment and lifestyle
  • Impact of behaviour and routines
  • Impact of medical conditions – management

Can you think of 3 changes that you could make to improve your sleep?

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