Sleep Hygiene Rules You Actually Want To Know


Sleep isn’t just “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. More than 100 million Americans of all ages, however, regularly fail to get a good night’s sleep.

At least 84 disorders of sleeping and walking lead to a lowered quality of life and reduced personal health. They endanger public safety by contributing to traffic and industrial accidents. These disorders can lead to problems falling asleep and staying asleep, difficulties staying awake or staying with a regular sleep/wake cycle, sleepwalking, bedwetting, nightmares, and other problems that interfere with sleep. Some sleep disorders can be life-threatening.

Sleep Hygiene Rules

These guidelines can be used for many different sleep disorders. They will help most people sleep better. For more specific guidelines for your particular sleep disorder, consult your healthcare professional.

  • Keep a regular time to get up in the morning, even on days off work and on weekends.
  • Go to bed only when you’re drowsy.
  • Leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity elsewhere if you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes. Do not permit yourself to fall asleep outside the bedroom. Return to bed when, and only when, you are sleepy. Repeat this process as often as necessary throughout the night.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep, sex, and times sickness.
  • Avoid napping during the daytime. If you nap, try to do so at the same time every day and for no more than 40 minutes. Mid-afternoon (no later than 3:00 pm) is best for most people.
  • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals such as a warm bath, light bedtime snacks, or 10 minutes of reading.
  • Exercise regularly. Do not exercise vigorously any later than 6 hours before bedtime, and do mild exercises at least 4 hours prior to bedtime.
  • Keep a regular schedule. Regular times for meals, medications, chores and other activities help keep the inner clock running smoothly.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime. A light snack before bedtime can help you sleep soundly. A large meal before bedtime can cause difficulty sleeping.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime.
  • Do not drink alcohol when sleepy. Even a small dose of alcohol can have a potent effect when combined with tiredness.
  • Use sleeping pills carefully. Most doctors avoid prescribing sleeping pills for longer than 3 weeks.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills or other medications.

Some symptoms of a sleep disorder can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Constant leg movement
  • Gasping episodes at night
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Loud snoring
  • Dry mouth, sore throat
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of energy

Good sleep hygiene and medications are aimed at improving the soundness of a person’s sleep. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.


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