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What is Sleep Hygiene?
‘Sleep hygiene’ is the term used to describe good sleep habits.
Considerable research has gone into developing a set of
guidelines and tips which are designed to enhance good
sleeping, and there is much evidence to suggest that these
strategies can provide long-term solutions to sleep difficulties.
There are many medications which are used to treat insomnia,
but these tend to be only effective in the short-term. Ongoing
use of sleeping pills may lead to dependence and interfere
with developing good sleep habits independent of medication,
thereby prolonging sleep difficulties. Talk to your health
professional about what is right for you, but we recommend
good sleep hygiene as an important part of treating insomnia,
either with other strategies such as medication or cognitive
therapy or alone.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
1) Get regular. One of the best ways to train your body to
sleep well is to go to bed and get up at more or less the
same time every day, even on weekends and days off! This
regular rhythm will make you feel better and will give your
body something to work from.
2) Sleep when sleepy. Only try to sleep when you actually
feel tired or sleepy, rather than spending too much time
awake in bed.
3) Get up & try again. If you haven’t been able to get to
sleep after about 20 minutes or more, get up and do
something calming or boring until you feel sleepy, then
return to bed and try again. Sit quietly on the couch with
the lights off (bright light will tell your brain that it is time
to wake up), or read something boring like the phone
book. Avoid doing anything that is too stimulating or
interesting, as this will wake you up even more.
4) Avoid caf