In the media, much attention is being given to the importance of sleep. Television and radio programs, journal and online articles, and books talk about the importance of lifestyle changes, called sleep hygiene, that can support good sleep. You have likely come across these changes. Below are sleep hygiene tips, but organized in a way to make this easier for you. The list below also contains information you likely have not seen elsewhere.

Intake of food, drink and substances

• Avoid caffeine (including chocolate and caffeinated sodas) six hours before bedtime.

• If you smoke, don’t smoke too close to bedtime, as nicotine is a stimulant.

• Limit your alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks per day, and avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime. When you drink alcohol right before bed, the alcohol wears off in the middle of the night, causing early awakenings.

• Drink enough water during the day so you are not very thirsty at bedtime. If you need to drink before bed or in the middle of the night, drink as small amount as possible.

• Have your last full meal be several hours before bedtime to allow for digestion. Avoid spicy foods or foods that cause indigestion.

• If you need a snack before bed, find which foods—carbohydrates, dairy or small amount of protein—don’t disturb your sleep.

During the Day

• Get out into sunlight at least 15 minutes each day.

• Exercise, but not too close to bedtime.

• Limit naps for 30-45 minutes (set an alarm) and nap no later than early afternoon. Bedroom

• Ensure your mattress, pillows and bedding are comfortable.

• Keep your bedroom be quick, dark and cool.

• Turn your clock so it is facing away from you. Clock watching increases stress, making it harder to sleep.

Evening

• Follow a regular sleep and wake schedule. That helps regulate your body clock so sleep is easier.

• Have your house lights be dim in the evening. Installing dimmer switches on lights allows you to function in lower light and lower light is calming and attractive.

• Slow down an hour before bed with a bath or reading something calming or stretching.

• Avoid stimulating activities like doing work or discussing emotional issues just before bedtime.

• Television, computer, cell phone and tablets emit a blue-white light that interferes with your brain’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Blue-blocking glasses help block blue light. Available online.

• Stop using computer, cell phone and tablets 30 minutes before bed.

Strengthen the Association of Your Bed with Sleep

• Limit bedroom activities to sleep and sex.

• Keep computers, TVs and work materials out of your bedroom.

In addition to the above suggestions, Sleep Easily helps you fall asleep or back to sleep more quickly and easily. For more information, please explore the rest of this website.

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