Many of us have a hard time falling asleep, or remaining asleep from time to time. Although sleep is a natural function and cannot be forced, it is possible to become a better sleeper, by having good sleep habits it will make us more receptive to sleep. This is simply known as sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene problems
- Sleeping to much
- Sleeping to little
- Sleeping at the wrong times
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Sleep hygiene tips
- Go to bed only when you feel sleepy
- If after 10-20 minutes of lying in bed, if you are unable to get to sleep, get out of bed, and leave your bedroom and put yourself in a relaxed mood by listening to calming music, reading, self relaxation or pray….repeat cycle
- Establish a regular routine. Going to bed at the same time, and waking up at the same time… Sleeping in late to make up for lost sleep can throw off your ‘body clock’. Set your alarm for the same time each morning, regardless of how many hours you have slept.
- Avoid taking naps….if it is a must, nap in the morning, not in the afternoon-this “attaches” to your night time sleep.
Avoid ruminating in bed… don’t focus on solving your problems or organizing the rest of your life as your attempting to sleep, simply focus on sleep. Tell yourself you will think about tomorrow, tomorrow.
- Keep a pad of paper and pen next your bed. If an important idea comes to mind, don’t rehearse it in your mind, write it down. (there won’t be anything you can do at that time of night)
- Play tricks on your mind…tell yourself to stay awake, and your mind will slip away into sleep. Let your mind enter into a mental daydream.
- Put yourself in a relaxed state of mind an hour before bed, by reading or watching television.
- Establish a regular daytime exercise schedule. Regular exercise in the day can help induce sleepiness (not directly before bed)
- Avoid caffeinated beverages 5 hours before bed such as coffee, tea and pop. This can interfere with normal sleep patterns.
- Practice rational and self defeating thoughts while in bed…below are some examples:
- “I must fall asleep right now or I’ll be a wreck tomorrow”
- “what’s the matter with me that I can’t seem to fall asleep?”
- If I don’t get to sleep right now, I won’t be able to concentrate tomorrow on the (exam, conference, meeting etc)
- “I may feel tired, but I’ve been able to get by with little sleep before. I can make up for it tomorrow by going to bed early.”
- “Stop blaming yourself! I can’t control sleep, just let whatever happens, happen.”
- “My concentration may be off a bit, but I’m not going to fall apart. There’s no point in blowing things out of proportion. I might as well get up for awhile and watch a little television rather than lie here ruminating.”
This website may help provide you with more information and has a sleep test. www.sleepnet.com