Do you lie awake in bed for hours before you can catch sleep? Then maybe try these tips before you reach for other means. A good night’s sleep starts with good sleep hygiene. The following sleep tips will help you to combat or prevent insomnia.

  1. Go to sleep as much as possible around the same time and get up around the same hour, also on weekends. This helps to develop a fixed sleep-wake rhythm and it promotes the quality of sleep. But don’t overdo it: don’t go to bed until you feel sleepy, not just because the clock says it’s bedtime. It is not a disaster if you go sleep a bit later one night. Go to bed when you feel sleepy, even if your ‘normal’ bedtime hasn’t arrived yet.
  2. Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep. Sleep as much as necessary to feel rested and fresh the next day. By limiting the time in bed, sleep is automatically improved. Spending too much time in bed leads to interrupted and superficial sleep. It can be useful and instructive to write down for a while what time you are going to sleep, how long you are awake, what time you get up, how rested you are the next morning.
  3. Ensure a quiet and comfortable sleeping environment. Sleep in a quiet, peaceful and dark room. If necessary, wear earplugs in a noisy environment. Don’t light up the bedroom. Also turn off all luminous devices (e.g. TV).
  4. Illuminate the room immediately in the morning when getting up. Lots of light in the morning helps our biological clock. Conversely, before bedtime, starting lowering the light brightness.
  5. Ventilate the bedroom regularly and ensure a temperature of around 16-18°C (60 – 64° F)
  6. Ensure a good quality of mattress and pillow. It is difficult to fall asleep on a mattress that is too hard or too soft, or in a bed that is too small or too old. The thickness and firmness of the mattress depend on your weight and body shape. The pillow should support the cervical vertebrae well. Use sheets in natural fabrics. Avoid tight clothing in bed and do not wear nylon pajamas.
  7. Restless partners and snorers can easily ruin someone’s sleep. The result is usually poor sleep. Sleeping separately and earplugs are often the only tools, no matter how annoying this can be.
  8. Keep the bedroom for sex and sleep, not to watch TV or work.
  9. Make it a habit to sleep alone in bed and not fall asleep in front of TV every night. Many daytime naps can disrupt your sleep-wake rhythm and hinder a good night’s sleep. If you do want to take a nap, do it before 15:00 in the afternoon and make sure that the nap does not exceed 45 minutes.
  10. Your activities during the day strongly affect your sleep: make sure you balance things out. Daily exercise in the morning or early afternoon improves sleep. However, strenuous activities just before bedtime can counteract falling asleep. Don’t exercise just before bedtime.
  11. Avoid TV, computer games, surfing the internet, tweeting, etc. just before bedtime.
  12. Both hunger and a full stomach can hinder you from falling asleep. Don’t eat a big meal before you go to bed. It is best not to eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bedtime can promote sleep.
  13. Avoid drinking large amounts of water in the evening to avoid getting up at night to urinate.
  14. In the evening, limit the use of stimulants such as tobacco, coffee, sodas, etc.
  15. Those who drink a lot of alcohol in the evening will fall asleep faster but sleep less deeply and wake up earlier.
  16. Don’t take your problems to bed: make sure you keep them out of the bedroom one way or the other by talking or writing about them, for example.
  17. Try to relax before bed. Enjoy a hot bath, listen to relaxing music, take an evening walk… Relaxation exercises just before bedtime can promote sleep.
  18. Put the alarm out of sight if the sound bothers you or if you tend to constantly look at the alarm clock. Conversely, put the alarm in sight if you sleep restlessly by morning because you want to know what time it is.
  19. If you feel you’re not falling asleep, don’t keep worrying, but then get up after about 20 minutes and do something else until you get sleepy.
  20. Avoid sleeping pills. Occasional and short-term use of a short-acting sleeping aid may be useful to adjust a temporary disturbance of sleep/wake rhythm (e.g. when travelling, sleeping in another bed, etc…). Do not use a sleeping pill more than two to three times a week.
Erica Delaney

Erica is an experienced nurse working in the central Florida area. She focuses on subjects related to pregnancy and infant health. She is a mother of two with hobbies ranging from dancing to playing the piano.