You may not have heard the word "hygiene" since the school
nurse lectured your class about brushing your teeth and cleaning
behind your ears, but hygiene is simply a system of principles and
practices for preserving health and preventing disease. Good sleep
hygiene consists of common-sense basics, such as:
Regular hours. A consistent wake-up time is especially
important in synchronizing your internal biological clock.
Frequent exercise. However, it's best not to work out in the evening, when
you should be winding down.
Cut down on caffeine, such as coffee, colas and chocolate.
Caffeine can linger in the body for up to eight hours, so try to avoid it after
A good bed. A bed that's too small, too soft, too hard or
just plain too old can keep you from getting the deep, restful sleep
Don't smoke. Nicotine is an even stronger stimulant than
caffeine and can cause problems falling and staying asleep.
Drinking. Alcohol may make you drowsy, but it undermines
the quality and quantity of your sleep and disrupts normal sleep
A sleep ritual. A relaxing routine, such as relaxing music,
stretches, or light reading can help smooth the transition from
day to night. Don't take a hot bath or shower immediately before
going to bed, because increasing your body temperature can disrupt
your internal rhythm and keep you awake.
A comfortable sleep environment. Keep your bedroom as quiet
and dark as possible, with a cool temperature. Try to keep other
distractions to a minimum.
Choose "sleepy" snacks such as carbohydrates
and avoid energizing proteins.