Sleep Hygiene – The Healthy Habits of Good Sleep

Good sleep hygiene is something that helps you to have a healthy, active life. The idea behind sleep hygiene is identical to dental hygiene. Dental hygiene keeps you healthy by keeping your gums and teeth strong and clean. Similarly, sleep hygiene makes you stay fit and healthy by keeping your mind and body relaxed, active and strong. Following these tips will help you sleep better and feel your best.

Dental hygiene can be a part of your sleep hygiene. It is very easy for you to fall asleep at night if you have certain bedtime rituals. These are tasks that you do every night just before going to sleep. Brushing and flossing your teeth before sleeping is a good example of a healthy ritual. Both your dentist and your doctor will approve if you do this every night.

Below are a few tips for you to improve your sleep hygiene:

Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.

If you are not feeling sleepy at bedtime, then do something else such as reading a book, listening to soft music or browsing through a magazine. Find something relaxing (and not something that stimulates you) and this helps you to take your mind off of worries related to sleep and will in turn distract your mind and relax your body.

If you are not asleep after 20 minutes, then get out of bed.

Find something else to do that will actually relax you. However try doing this in another room because your bedroom should be the place where you go to sleep and not a place to go when you are bored. Once you start feeling sleepy, go back to bed.

Start rituals that help you relax each night before bed.

This can include things such as a light snack, warm bath or a few minutes of reading.

Get up at the same time every morning.

Do this even on holidays and weekends.

Get a full night’s sleep on a daily basis.

Get sufficient sleep so that you feel relaxed and well-rested every day.

Avoid taking naps if possible.

If you have a tendency of taking a nap, then keep it short (less than one hour). Avoid taking a nap after 3 p.m.

Maintain a regular schedule.

Having regular times for meals, chores, medications and other activities help keeps the inner body clock running smoothly without disruptions.

  • Do not eat, read, write, watch TV, play cards, talk on the phone etc in bed.
  • Avoid any caffeine after lunch.
  • Do not have beer, wine, or any other alcohol within six hours of your bedtime.
  • Do not smoke a cigarette or any other source of nicotine before bedtime.
  • Do not skip meals before bedtime, but also avoid eat a big meal prior to sleep.
  • Avoid any stimulating, tough exercise within six hours of your bedtime.

You should exercise regularly, but do it earlier in the day. (Talk to your doctor before you begin any kind of exercise program.)

Avoid sleeping pills, or use them as prescribed by your doctor.

Many doctors do not prescribe sleeping pills for more than three weeks. Also avoid intake of alcohol while taking sleeping pills.

Try to get rid of things that make you worry.

If you are unable to do this, then find a time during the day to get all of your worries out of your system. Your bed is a place to sleep and relax, not a place to worry.

Make your bedroom dark, quiet and a little cool.