Sleep hygiene refers to the level of control of the factors likely to influence sleep. It consists of a strategy that is especially effective in the case of insomnia, basic tips that help prevent or minimize sleep difficulties. It is however quite rare that the insomnia is caused by one of these factors alone. Usually, insomnia is treated by a behavioural therapy or temporary medication.
Good sleep hygiene is the key to a good sleep. Here are some tips to help you sleep better or minimize sleep disorders:
1. Avoid stimulants such as alcohol and nicotine or intense exercise just before bedtime
Alcohol can cause morning arousals. Intense exercise late at night has a stimulating effect, making it hard to fall asleep. However, regular exercise in the late afternoon or early evening may help you sleep better.
2. Keep your room calm, dark and comfortable
3. Plan at least one hour of downtime before bedtime
4. Only go to bed when you are sleepy; get out of bed if you are not able to fall asleep and only go back to bed when sleep is imminent
5. Only use the bed for sleeping and intercourse. Never read, watch TV, listen to the radio or solve problems in bed
6. Avoid daytime naps
7. Get up at the same time every morning
8. Limit your time spent in bed to actual sleep time
Morin, CM et al. “Nonpharmacological Treatment of Chronic Insomnia.” Sleep, 22, 8 (1999): 1156-1234.
Morin, CM. Vaincre les ennemis du sommeil. Montréal: Éditions de l’Homme, 1997.