10 Rules for Improved Sleep Hygiene

If you have problems sleeping, it is important that you practice good sleep hygiene. This means doing things that are known to improve sleep and avoiding those that are known to disturb sleep.

Here are ten things you should know about getting better sleep; each of these points are based on scientific research and could help you get the most of your sleep. Remember, this advice only applies if you have a sleep problem.

  1. Products containing caffeine (tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, soft drinks, etc.) should be discontinued at least four hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake.
  2. Avoid nicotine (including nicotine patches or chewing gum, etc.) an hour before bedtime and when waking at night. Nicotine is also a stimulant.
  3. Avoid alcohol around bedtime because although it can promote sleep at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
  4. Avoid eating a large meal immediately before bedtime, although a light snack may be beneficial.
  5. Try to do regular, even mild, physical exercise if you are able. Avoid exercising two hours before bedtime.
  6. Keep the bedroom calm and tidy. Select a mattress, sheets, and pillows that are comfortable.
  7. Avoid making your bedroom too hot or too cold.
  8. Keep the bedroom mainly for sleeping; try to avoid watching television, listening to the radio, or eating in your bedroom.
  9. Keep the bedroom quiet and darkened during the night, but try to spend some time in the daylight, or bright artificial light, during the day.
  10. Try to keep regular times for going to bed and getting up.

Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing related symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.