Sleep Hygiene

  • Do not go to bed until you are drowsy.
  • Get up at approximately the same time each morning, including weekends. If you feel you must get up later on weekends, allow yourself a maximum of one hour later arising.
  • Do not take naps.
  • These first three rules will give you a consistent sleep rhythm and synchronize your biological clock. With time, your bedtime, or the time you become drowsy, will also tend to become regular.
  • Do not drink alcohol later than two hours prior to your bedtime.
  • Do not consume caffeine after about 4 p.m., or within six hours prior to bedtime. Learn all the foods, beverages and medications that contain caffeine.
  • Do not smoke within several hours prior to your bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly. The best time to exercise is in the late afternoon. Avoid strenuous physical exertion after 6 p.m.
  • Use common sense to make your sleep environment most conducive to sleep. Arrange for a comfortable temperature and minimum levels of sound, light and noise.
  • If you are accustomed to it, have a light carbohydrate snack before bedtime (IE crackers, graham crackers, milk or cheese). Do not eat chocolate or large amounts of sugar. Avoid excessive fluids. If you awaken in the middle of the night, do not have a snack then or you may find that you begin to wake up habitually at that time feeling hungry.
  • If you are not asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something else. This could include light house cleaning, reading an article, watching TV (stay away from strenuous exercise, novels or movies). You need to do something in which you can stop easily and go to bed if you become drowsy.
  • Do not eat, watch TV or read in bed.
  • Establish a pre-bed routine, such as putting pajamas on, meditating, or relaxation exercises.
  • Remember you can not die from insomnia.

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