Insomnia? Try improving your “sleep hygiene”
“Sleep hygiene” refers to habits or routines that can help you to have a good night’s sleep. Insomnia and other sleeping problems are often caused by bad habits that have developed over many years.
Below are 10 simple tips to help improve insomnia and the quality of your sleep:
1. Have a regular bedtime and a regular wake up time. This includes the weekends as well. A routine helps to regulate the body clock, so that you will become sleepy at the same time every night.
2. Avoid all stimulants 3 hours before bedtime. Stimulants include caffeine, chocolate, nicotine and computers before bed. Removing stimulants will allow the body and mind to relax in preparation for bedtime.
3. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol reduces the quality of sleep. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) terms, alcohol causes deficient heat which can increase feelings of restlessness in the longer term.
4. Use your bed only for sleeping – this helps your brain to associate your bed with sleep. This means no watching TV, playing computer games, or working on your laptop in bed.
5. Avoid afternoon naps to ensure you are tired in the evening. If you really need a nap, make sure to schedule it before 3pm & only for 10-20 minutes.
6. Develop your own bedtime rituals to help you wind down at the end of the day – 15 minutes of relaxing stretches, deep breathing exercises or meditation; writing in a journal; enjoying herbal tea after 3pm; or soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts to help you relax at the end of a day.
7. Exercise regularly during the day, as this can help to tire you out for the evening, but try not to do any strenuous activities a few hours before bedtime.
8. Improve your sleep space -reduce clutter in your bedroom and ensure your bed is comfortable. Clutter can be a manifestation of inner stagnation that causes imbalances in TCM.
9. Don’t avoid activities because you are tired, even if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, try to keep your daytime activities the same as you had planned, rather than try to catch up on missed sleep, as this can throw your body clock awry.
10. Never watch the clock – constantly checking the time during the night while not sleeping can increase stress and anxiety. If you are waking at certain times during the night, it can indicate a particular TCM organ system and/or corresponding emotional aspects that are out of balance. For example, if you are waking up between 1-3am, this could indicate an imbalance with your liver system and the associated emotions and psychological aspects.
You will sleep well again
Further Related Reading:
Sleep Disorders and Problems