From the ASA: What is Sleep Hygiene?

By Dr. Neil Kline, American Sleep Association

Sleep hygiene refers to behavioral interventions that have the intention of promoting good sleep opportunities. They are based on basic biologic principals, and by understanding these principals and adjusting lifestyles to maximize sleep opportunity, sleep can be maximized. A well-rested person has more energy during the daytime and is able to perform optimally.

The principles of sleep hygiene are broken into a few different categories: schedule, environment, activities, and intake.  Just like dental hygiene, sleep hygiene can help to avoid unhealthy outcomes. Here are a list of tips from SleepBetter and the ASA:

Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom

  • Set your bedroom thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
  • Turn off electronics that make noise – TV, phone, tablet, etc.
  • If your pets awaken you, keep them outside the bedroom.
  • Your bedroom should be dark. Turn off bright lights.
  • Have a comfortable mattress and pillow.

Maintain a regular sleep routine

  • Go to bed at the same time. Wake up at the same time.
  • Avoid naps if possible.

Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 5-10 minutes

  • If you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark. Do your mind racing in the chair until you are sleepy, then return to bed.

Don’t watch TV or read in bed

  • When you watch TV or read in bed, you associate the bed with wakefulness.

Drink caffeinated drinks with caution

  • The effects of caffeine may last for several hours after ingestion. Caffeine can fragment sleep, and cause difficulty initiating sleep. If you drink caffeine, use it only before noon.

Avoid substances that interfere with sleep

  • Cigarettes, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications may cause fragmented sleep.

Exercise regularly

  • Exercise before 2 pm every day. Exercise promotes continuous sleep.
  • Avoid rigorous exercise before bedtime.

Dr. Neil Kline is a representative of American Sleep Association. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine.  For more information on the ASA, visit their website.