Healthy Sleep Habits

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Healthy Sleep Habits

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Are you getting enough sleep?

Not getting enough sleep will put you at risk to illnesses, impair your brain function, and affect your emotions resulting in mood changes, irritability, and stress. According to a research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, an adult should get at least 7-9 hours of night sleep to function well.

At the same time, your behavior and lifestyle can significantly impact your quality of sleep. A slight degree of adjustment of sleeping habits can either promote healthy sleep or contribute to restless night.

What is Sleep Hygiene?

“Sleep hygiene” refers to your healthy sleep habits which can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. You need to maintain healthy sleep habits especially if you have difficulty sleeping or want to improve your sleep. Enough sleep enables you to function competently during the day without struggling with sleepiness in quiet situations

What should I do to improve my sleeping habits?

Here are some tips that may you can follow to establish healthy sleep habits:

DIET AND EXERCISE

  • Avoid caffeine-containing food and drinks (e.g. coffee, chocolates, cola) and heavy evening meals. Caffeine is a stimulant which can interfere with sleep and eating heavy meals may trigger insomnia. Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
  • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly during the day.

SLEEPING TIME AND ENVIRONMENT

  • Improve your sleep environment by keeping your room quiet, dark and at a comfortable, cool temperature.
  • It may help to limit bedroom activities to sleep and sex only.
  • Expose yourself to natural light. Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Going out during daytime can help establish your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
  • Keep your body clock set by having a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Establish bedtime rituals to ease in transition from wake time to sleep time with relaxation periods.
  • Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.

Incorporating these tips into your daily routine may help you achieve an improved sleep pattern; however, there are cases where sleep problems may simply just won’t go away that could signal a far deeper cause and you may want to consult with a sleep specialist.

Sources:

  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2017). Sleep Education. Essentials in Sleep. http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/cpap
  • Henry G. Raroque, MD. (2014). Lecture notes on Introduction to Sleep Disorders. The Dallas School of Neuroscience and Sleep Medicine, Texas.
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