Sleep Hygiene / Tips to sleep well

Here are some tips to deal with insomnia or difficulty in sleeping

During the day

Do not take a nap during the day If you do so, your night time sleep will be correspondingly shortened. Get some physical exercise (walking, stretching and aerobic exercise) on a regular basis, preferably in the morning.

Before bedtime

Taper your physical activity towards bedtime; otherwise, you will be too alert to sleep.

Have dinner at least two to three hours before bedtime so that you don’t have a full stomach when you sleep and also prevent acid reflux (heartburn). Don’t take stimulating drinks such as chocolate, coffee, tea, cocoa and colas at bedtime. A glass of warm milk or a carbohydrate snack just before bedtime may help you fall asleep.

If you want to have a hot bath do so one to two hours before retiring; as your body needs to feel cool if you are to fall asleep. Have a cool (but not COLD) bath before going to bed. A cold bath will make you more alert.

Avoid stimulating activity such as watching TV, listening to loud, peppy music, exposure to bright lights, debates, arguments or any social activity that makes you irritable or angry. However, relaxing conversation with a family member can help you sleep.

Avoid mental activity before retiring. Watching an engrossing TV program, playing chess or concentrating on any other task may make you more alert.

Take up some activity that you consider work, just before going to bed. Attending to your accounts or other paperwork may tire you enough to make you feel sleepy.

If you are feeling tense, alert, or irritable, do something that is calming or relaxing (meditating, praying, reading, pottering around the house or pursuing any other activity which helps you unwind) just before you retire.

Identify bed with sleep. Go to bed when you feel tired enough. Don’t lie awake in bed trying to get sleep. If cannot fall asleep, get out of bed and do something quiet and non-stimulating. Go back to bed when you feel tired.

Waking up

Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays. On the same lines, stick to the wake-up time irrespective of the length of time for which you slept. If you did not sleep well the previous night, the loss of sleep can make it easier for you to fall asleep the present night. However, if you sleep late into the morning, you will find it hard to sleep at night. Once you’re awake, get moving. Don’t lie in bed thinking about getting up.

If nothing works, see a doctor.




Keep regular bedtime hours. Although this may not always be practical, remember that your body likes regular routines. So pick a reasonable and regular time to go to bed each night and stick to it. Even if you don’t think you are tired when the time comes, your body will appreciate it. After a while, when it feels it can rely on the routine, it will repay the favor by letting you go to sleep when you want.

Plan your day so that you can retire at about the same time every night. This will condition you to feeling sleepy at that time each night.

Retire only when you are tired; if you retire when you feel wide awake, you will toss and turn and find it hard to fall asleep. If you feel sleepy, retire soon; otherwise, your body will slowly become more alert, and you will find it harder to fall asleep. Preferably, sleep in the same place every night. This will help you get conditioned to feeling sleepy when you head for your bed. If you change your sleeping arrangements often, you may take time to adjust to the change before you begin to feel sleepy.

Reduce environmental stimulation in your sleep zone. Use minimum lighting (or none at all), avoid noise, disconnect your phone, and do whatever else is necessary to ensure that there is no disturbance. Some persons find it easier to fall asleep if there is soft music playing. Others find that music captures their attention and keeps them awake. If traffic noise, festival celebration, or other disturbances are inevitable, adopt an accepting attitude and let the sound recede into the background much as you would accept the sound of a ceiling fan. If you resent the sound, your anger and the attention that you pay to it will not allow you to sleep.

Ensure that your pillow and bed are comfortable. Ensure that you are sufficiently warm during winter, and adequately cool during summer. Take measures to minimize pests such as mosquitoes.

Adopt stress-management and time-management strategies to reduce the anxiety or other emotional disturbances associated with your lifestyle. Likewise, take up hobbies, sports and recreational pursuits that help you unwind mentally and physically.