Saturday, March 22, 2008

Developing Good Sleep Hygiene to Improve Sleep

If you are struggling with sleep difficulties, before you consider taking prescription medication to aid in your sleep, you should ensure you have good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene helps many people get to sleep and stay asleep through the night effectively.

First, set a regular sleeping schedule for yourself. Ensure that you fall asleep and get up at the same time everyday, no matter what. If you cannot fall asleep within a half an hour of laying down, get up and read a book or magazine for a half an hour and try to sleep again. Regardless of what time you actually end up falling asleep, you need to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

You also need to avoid caffeine at least 4-6 hours before you go to bed. This may be challenging, but it is an important part of good sleep hygiene. If you drink coffee, soda, or tea, make sure it doesn't have caffeine 4-6 hours prior to bedtime.

Before you go to sleep, try to do something relaxing. Take a bubble bath, read a good book, listen to some soft music, or practice some relaxation techniques. Personally, I love to listen to Enya before I sleep. I find her music soothing and relaxing.

Another thing to remember is to avoid naps during the day if at all possible. You may be tired if you didn't get adequate sleep the night before, but napping during the day makes it more difficult to sleep at night. If you must nap, nap for 30-45 minutes at the most.

Your sleep environment also needs to be conducive to sleeping. You need to find a comfortable temperature for your room - not too hot or too cold, comfortable blankets and sheets, and comfortable sleeping clothes. Additionally, refrain from using your room as an office or workspace, as this often leads to sleeping difficulties.

Before you go to sleep, you may want to have a light snack and warm milk. Warm milk tends to help people sleep.

Try to let go of your worries, frustrations, and concerns before you sleep. Worry can keep you awake at night, preventing you from attaining adequate sleep.

Taking these steps will help you develop good sleep hygiene. Developing good sleep hygiene may help you more than you think. It's certainly worth developing good sleep hygiene before you consider taking medication to induce sleep.

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