Sleep Health

“Sleep hygiene” is a term used to describe practices that are sleep-friendly. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, review this checklist to see if any of these factors may be causing or worsening the problem. 

Is your bedroom a sleep-friendly area? Minimize noise, light and excessive room temperatures when preparing for sleep. If you’re having trouble with sleep, experts recommend eliminating activities in the bedroom that can distract you, such as watching TV, reading, eating, or working. Do those activities elsewhere in the home. If you can’t fall asleep in 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity in another room until you become sleepy.

Do you keep a regular pattern of bedtime and waking? Waking up at about the same time of day helps retiring at bedtime be more predictable.

Do you limit your intake of caffeine? Caffeine disrupts sleep because it’s a stimulant. Caffeine is not only in coffee and tea, but also in some soft drinks, medications, and foods. Avoid caffeine after lunch and cut down on your total daily use to help avoid being too stimulated at bedtime.

Do you smoke cigarettes near bedtime or during sleep hours?  Nicotine is a stimulant that may “trigger” your body to remain alert.

Do you drink alcoholic beverages late in the evening? While alcohol may help some people feel relaxed, it can actually disrupt sleep later in the night.

Do you eat heavy meals too close to bedtime? Heavy meals may make lying down feel uncomfortable. Try a light snack instead, which may help induce sleep.

Do you do vigorous exercise within three to four hours of bedtime? Regular exercise is essential for good health, but if done too late in the evening, it may interfere with sleep. Exercising in the late afternoon, however, can help deepen sleep.

Do you take naps frequently? Avoid napping during late afternoons or evenings. If you must nap, do so early in the afternoon and limit the nap to 30 minutes.

Are you feeling anxious about not getting enough sleep? Worrying about not being able to get enough sleep and spending too much time in bed attempting to “get more rest” can make insomnia worse.

Do you work shift work? Working the night shift often has the potential to seriously disrupt your “body clock”. Often, companies that schedule shift work offer training on how to adjust to sleeping when it is daylight, or when family activities and other interruptions can make sleep difficult.

Shape up your habits and practice good sleep hygiene. Your sleep health is an important part of your overall health.