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5 Tips For Better Sleep Hygiene

Last updated July 9, 2015

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

What happens when you don't sleep? And why do we need to do it anyways? Hank Green from Vlog Brothers explains the science of sleep: the cause, the benefits, and who holds the record for going without it!


Sleep is essential for health and well-being. Multiple studies have shown that regular and adequate sleep is not only important for physical health but also for emotional health.

As the world shrinks in size, constant social media inputs have affected our sleep patterns. As a society we tend to get less sleep now than few decades ago.

Here are some tips for getting a better sleep.

1.   Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bedtime.

These types of stimulants are not beneficial for sleep. Although alcohol increases the onset of sleep, its stimulant properties affect the quality of sleep and may cause you to wake up frequently throughout the night. As your body attempts to metabolize the alcohol in your system, it actually wakes your brain up. Caffeine should definitely be avoided about 4 to 6 hours prior to sleep. It can be found in chocolate, tea, soda, coffee and some pain relievers.

2.   Maintain a regular sleep pattern.

Your body has an internal clock that allows you to maintain a proper sleep and wake cycle. It is best maintained when you awake and go to sleep around the same time each day and night.

3.   Do not nap too late in the day.

Napping can interrupt your sleep pattern, reducing your sleep drive at night. If you feel that napping is necessary, the time should be kept to as short as possible.

4.   Exercising can promote sleep if not done too late in the date.

Exercising at the proper time each day has been proven to help you get to bed faster. Cortisol is secreted during physical exercise, a hormone that triggers an awakening mechanism in the brain. Therefore, high-intensity workouts should be performed early on in the day. Try not to exercise right before bedtime, which can disrupt sleep rather than improve sleep. 

5.   Avoid eating prior to sleeping.

If you indulge too close to bedtime, digestive processes are initiated, which can hinder your ability to fall asleep at a normal time. Make sure to eat several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that may cause indigestion.

References:

http://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-hygiene http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 23, 2014
Last updated: July 9, 2015