Skip to main content

Good Sleep Hygiene

Good sleep hygiene includes maintaining a regular, healthy sleep / wake cycle each day, 7 days a week, including:

  • Limiting the time you spend in bed awake if you are having trouble sleeping at night
  • Getting 20 minutes of sunlight each day or light therapy with a full-spectrum light box
  • Exercising and being active in the morning or late afternoon
    • If you are having difficulty sleeping, avoid vigorous exercise 2 hours before bedtime
  • Engaging in relaxation techniques in the afternoon and evening, including:
    • Biofeedback
    • Breathing exercises
    • Meditation
    • Progressive muscle relaxation
    • Yoga
  • Avoiding caffeine 6 hours before bedtime
  • Avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and other stimulants
    • If you are planning to have alcohol, have it early in the evening
  • Avoiding large, heavy meals and snacks before bedtime
  • Avoiding going to bed hungry
    • A light snack can sometimes help you sleep better
  • Avoiding naps during the day
    • If you are having trouble sleeping at night, it is best to entirely avoid napping during the day; but if you must doze off during the day, limit your nap to 30 or fewer minutes
  • Maintaining a relaxing bedtime routine, including:
    • Go to bed at the same time each night
    • Wake at the same time each morning
    • Avoid upsetting conversations
    • Avoid vigorous activities
    • Avoid going over events of your day and planning the next day
    • Sleep in a dark, quiet, cool room
  • Using your bed only for sleep and sex
    • Avoid watching television, listening to the radio, and reading in bed
    • If you cannot fall asleep or if you wake and cannot return to sleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and relax in another room.
  • Avoiding sleeping pills for more than 1 or 2 nights per month and avoiding them entirely if you have obstructive sleep apnea

What Affects Your Sleep Quality?

Lifestyle and Habits

Positive Effects

  • Regular exercise
  • Relaxing techniques and meditation
  • Good bedtime habits (good sleep hygiene)
  • Avoiding emotional and consumable stimulants

Negative Effects

  • Stress
  • Lack of bedtime routine (poor sleep hygiene)
  • Alcohol, nicotine, and other stimulants
  • Eating and being full at bedtime

Sleep Environment

Positive Effects

  • A quiet room
  • Cool temperature
  • Darkness

Negative Effects

  • Snoring
  • Breathing issues, including apnea
  • Movement disorders, including RLS and PLMD