Simple Sleep Hygiene Tips - Insomnia Self-Help Guide
- Start with a dark room. As completely dark as you can make it. No light from outside through the curtains, no night light if possible. Dark is required for quality sleep.
- Make sure it is a as quiet and peaceful a room as possible.
- No screens or devices should be in here to disturb you. If possible, no tv, no phones or tablet devices.
- Make sure you have a comfortable bed. The right firmness or softness of mattress for you personally.
- Be certain you are warm enough or cool enough for a comfortable night. Enough blankets to keep you warm. Perhaps less bedclothes when it is too hot. Make sure the heating goes off in the room as you lay down for sleep.
- Simply winding down before bed is useful. Sleep may come easier after this.
- Relax an hour or at least a 1/2 Hour before bed. Switch the screens off, put the phone or tablet device down to do this. Have a warm shower or bath. Read a relaxing book in low light. Listen to some calm, relaxing music. Have a warm, soothing milk-based drink like cocoa, Horlicks, low sugar hot chocolate or decaf coffee (no sugar, alcohol, or caffeine).
- Make sure you are in a comfortable position as you begin going to sleep. Move a little this way, a little that way to get yourself really comfy. You are going to be here for hours sleeping in bed. So, you must ensure you are completely snug and comfy.
- Try some relaxing breathing exercises as you get in bed. These can calm the mind and body togther.
- Routine is helpful. Try to go to bed at the same or a similar time each night. Also try to wake up at the same time. Your body has a natural rhythm. So, creating yourself an individual, personal sleep routine should help you.
- Try to eat meals earlier rather than later. Eat little, preferably nothing before bed, unless required. Your body will be digesting food for hours after you eat meaning it will be busy and not relaxing. This is not conducive to relaxing into a goodnight sleep.
- Exercise regularly at the right time for you. Although some people do, not everyone loves the idea of getting out of bed to go jogging for miles first thing. So, do your chosen exercise, one you really enjoy doing when it is feels right for you to do it. Try different times and different types of exercise to find the one that works best for you. Hsi-Chung Chen et al (2012) from Department of Psychiatry and Center of Sleep Disorders, National Taiwan University Hospital and many others say exercise has been proven to positively affect sleep.
So, You Still Can’t Get to Sleep?
- Your bedroom should be a place for sleep, intimacy and nothing else.
- Do not allow it to be a place where you are constantly feeling frustrated about not sleeping.
- After an half hour of lying awake, get up again and do something relaxing for a while.
- Listen to calm, relaxing sounds, read a calming book, watch 1 episode of a tv series that doesnt leave you on the edge of your seat or listen to your hypnotherapy recording.
- Have another warm drink until you are starting to feel tired.
- Then return to bed only when you are actually sleepy and start your relaxing breathing exercises again.
Please note that sleep hygiene alone is not a proven technique to aid insomnia. However, in conjunction with a few other tools and ideas (like cbt-i) it can aid a better nights sleep.