Sleep Hygiene Tips

posted in: Sleep | 0

By Johanna Rengifo, PhD, Kris Verroulx, PsyD, and Sara Mason, PsyD

Need to get better sleep?  Try these suggestions!


good night's sleep

    • Wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.  Over time, this will improve the body’s sleep cycle.  Try to go to bed at the same time every night.  When you feel sleepy, go to bed.


    • Develop a bedtime routine that does not involve very stimulating activities.  Some calming activities include reading a book (not on an electronic device) or taking a bath.  Doing the same thing every night trains your body to expect sleep and drift off more easily.


    • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can quiet the mind, relax the body, and promote sleep. 


    • Avoid watching TV, using the computer, or using any electronic device before bedtime as research suggests that these activities may interfere with sleep.  


    • Only use your bedroom for sleeping and sex.  Your mind should connect your bed to relaxation, not activities that can interfere with sleep like checking your phone, browsing apps, or paying bills.


    • Create a sleep environment that is dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable.  The air in your room should be in the mid-60s Fahrenheit and you should have enough blankets to keep you warm.  Use light-blocking curtains, an eye mask, or ear plugs if necessary.


    • If you get distracted from your rest by calculating how much time you have left before your alarm goes off, turn the clock away from your view.  Develop a calming mantra about having enough time to get a good night’s rest and practice relaxation.


    • Avoid eating and exercising right before bed.  If you are so hungry that you are distracted from sleep, eat a very light snack but avoid heavy, sugary, or spicy foods.


    • Getting enough exercise and eating right during the day will help regulate your body and make your sleep cycle healthier.


    • Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine use before bed.  


    • If you wake up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, consider limiting the amount of liquid you drink about 2 hours before bedtime.  If you do become thirsty right before bedtime, try sucking on small ice chips.  Talk to your doctor if this problem continues even if you stop drinking fluids before bed.


    • If you cannot fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed and engage in relaxing and/or boring activities to promote sleepiness.  This does NOT include reading or watching TV.  Meditate, sit quietly on your couch, or pet your dog or cat.  Keep the lights off so your brain does not confuse your getting out of bed with starting a new wake cycle.


    • Don’t take naps.  If you feel like you need naps, you may need some support to improve your nighttime routine.  


    • Make sure you get some sunlight everyday, preferably in the morning.  This signals your brain to develop and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. 


    • If sleep problems persist after trying everything on this list for about two weeks, please talk to your doctor.  Some medical conditions create problems with sleep.


Cognitive Behavior Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) is an evidenced-based, non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia.  It incorporates basic sleep hygiene education, sleep restriction therapy, and stimulus control.  Goal are to reduce sleep onset latency and encourage sleep maintenance throughout the sleeping period.


    • Although best results can be obtained through work with a specialist in CBTi, CBTi, there are several online programs designed to help you learn CBTi independently.  These include sleepio and RESTORE CBT for Insomnia and Sleep. You may also speak to your doctor about obtaining a prescription for Somryst, previously known as SHUTi, an FDA approved Prescription Digital Therapeutic (PDT).


    • The CBT-I coach is a mobile application that is designed to help develop good sleep habits and sleep better. The mobile application is available through the android and apple application stores.


Printable Version of this article

Share this page on: