Sleep Hygiene Rules for Insomnia Prevention
Behavior retraining with the sleep hygiene rules is often the first step in fixing sleep problems. It's great and highly effective for the person who has insomnia perhaps once a week and is simply annoyed by the problem. For people who have had sleep problems for a long time, it is a first and very necessary step to getting on the right path to recovery.
This is a common set of rules for insomnia prevention known as the Sleep Hygiene Rules. It is a set of tips to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. It may take a week or two to get the hang of everything listed, but you should see results as you get into a better routine. It is important to have the discipline to follow these rules.
Sleep Hygiene Rules
- Most important: Get up at the same time every single day, including the weekends.
- Try to go to bed at a reasonable hour, so that you are not tired the next day. Remember to follow rule number one.
- Allow for at least 1 hour to unwind before bedtime. You may try relaxation or meditation techniques to help you unwind. (The SleepPhones System is designed to help you relax quickly.)
- Use the bedroom only for sex and sleep. This enhances your brain's association of the bedroom to be a place for sleep.
- Avoid caffeine after dinner. Some people are so sensitive they need to avoid caffeine after lunch.
- Avoid large meals just before bed. Eating just before lying down often results in heartburn.
- Exercise daily, but avoid exercise 2-4 hours prior to bedtime.
- Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to facilitate your body's ability to wind down. No TV!
- Avoid napping during the day. This can confuse your biological clock.
Extra Tips for special problems:
If possible, sunlight upon awaking is helpful to set the biological clock.
If you work the night shift, you may have to plan on waking up while the sun is still up. Then sleep with your windows covered with heavy curtains. You should turn your answering machine on so that you do not get disturbed.
If you have insomnia, do not lay in bed for more than 20 minutes getting frustrated. Get up and do something else (such as reading a book) until you feel tired again. Then return to bed.
If your mind won't shut off when trying to sleep, consider keeping a journal by the bed where you can write down your thoughts or make to-do lists for 10-15 minutes before sleeping.
If you already follow all of these Sleep Hygiene Rules as best you can but continue to have insomnia, consider the SleepPhones System to help you to relax and prevent insomnia. For people who wake up early and cannot fall back asleep, the SleepPhones System is perfectly safe to use even for short periods of sleep.
Learn more about the drug-free SleepPhones System for Insomnia!
Copyright © Wei-Shin Lai, MD 2007