Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

Common Sense Tips for Good Sleep

The rules of sleep hygiene, also known as good sleep habits, will help you to experience restful sleep so you can be at your best when awake. Simply following these recommendations can help!

  • Try to go to bed only when you are drowsy.
  • Maintain a regular wake time, even on days off work and on weekends.
  • Place your clock out of sight to avoid anxiety about the time. Use an alarm clock to ensure a scheduked wake time.
  • Keep a regular schedule. Regular times fomr meals, medications, chores and other activities help keep the inner clock running smoothly.
  • Avoid napping during the daytime. If you do nap, try to do so at the same time everyday and for no more than 30-25 minutes. Mid-afternoon no later than 3 PM is best for most people. 
  • Make your sleeping environment comfortable, quiet, dark, cool and well-ventilated.
  • Do not spend excessive amounts of time in bed. Use your bed only for sleep, intimacy, and times of illness.
  • A relaxing pre-sleep ritual such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack, or 10 minutes of reading may help. Practice focused breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime.
  • Try to exercise regularly. Vigorous exercise should be limited to earlier in the day, at least six hours before bedtime. Mild exercise should be done no more than 4 hours before bedtime. 
  • Avoid ingestion of caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime. “Reasonable” caffeine consumption is considered to be thequivalent of about 1-2 cups of coffee per day. Caffeine is a strong stimulant, and its effect lasts for hours.
  • Do not drink alcohol when sleepy. Even a small dose of alcohol can have a significant effect when combined with mild tiredness and the combination of the two can make you very sleepy. In addition, alcohol tends to cause sleep disruption after the first few hours of sleep. Do not drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills or other medications. 
  • Stop smoking. This eliminates the stimulating effects of nicotine.
  • Limit fluid before bedtime. 
  • If you do not fall asleep after 30 minutes, get up and do something rrelaxing with low impact lighting, such as listening to music or looking at a magazine, or something totally boring, such as reading a book about something that does not interest you. Return to bed when you feel sleepy.

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Go to the Sleep Disorders health topic.