Professor Allen’s Recommendations for Good Sleep Hygiene
Do not worry about the amount of sleep you achieve.
Go to bed only when sleepy.
If you are going to bed too early, go to bed 15 minutes later each night for a week or so until you notice improvement.
If you are waking tired, go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for a week or so until you wake refreshed (but not too early).
Rise at a consistent time (use an alarm clock, but face it away from you).
Avoid daytime sleep.
Eat the evening meal at a regular time several hours before bed (and be careful with snacks).
Exercise regularly (but avoid stimulating exercise before bed).
Let out emotional tension and arousal during the day.
Increase exposure to daylight up to about three hours before bedtime.
Avoid extremes of temperatures.
Avoid alcohol, sedatives, stimulating drinks, tobacco and excess liquids close to bedtime.
Warm milk before bed helps relaxation and eases hunger.
A warm bath before bed can be relaxing.
A regular evening routine promotes a frame of mind for sleep (washing, cleaning teeth, changing into nightwear, winding down).
Maintain a bedroom conductive to sleep (consider sounds, light, temperature).
Limit/eliminate disturbance by others and pets.
Limit mobile phone use, reading and radio in bed.
No eating or TV in the bedroom.
Use relaxation techniques in bed.
If unable to sleep because of worry – get up, write down the problem, list all possible solutions, choose a solution to enact tomorrow and plan exactly how to do so – imaging pleasant scenes or rhythmic stimuli.
If not asleep in 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something repetitive, e.g. reading and returning to bed only when sleepy.
Keep a diary of time spent asleep versus time in bed and restrict the time in bed to the length of time spent asleep.