Sleep hygiene checklist: a 5-step plan for a better night’s sleep
Just as you follow a daily routine to keep your skin and teeth healthy, it’s important to adopt behaviours that promote sleep. ‘Sleep hygiene’, a term doctors use, doesn’t refer to how clean you are when you go to bed, but to these sleep-promoting behaviours. The idea is to avoid habits that interfere with a good night’s sleep and to follow healthy habits that promote it. Studies find that 70 to 80 per cent of people with chronic insomnia benefit from non-drug approaches like the following sleep hygiene checklist.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Stop drinking caffeinated beverages and eating caffeinated foods, including chocolate, even if you’re sleepy during the day. Don’t forget that some medications contain large doses of caffeine. Have healthy non-caffeinated treats planned or on-hand for when you’d usually crave a coffee.
Keep a regular sleep schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. We know it doesn’t sound like fun, but once you’re used to it you’ll find that not having to adjust to different bedtimes and wake-up times throughout the week does a lot of good. You might find the extra morning hours on the weekend make room for other types of healthy habits, like that running or swimming group you’ve been meaning to join.