The key to getting a good night sleep is something called “sleep hygiene”. Sleep hygiene is all about improving things that help people get to sleep and remain sleeping, by using techiques that are highly personalised for each type of persons sleep issues. People can have very different types of sleep issues and can respond in very different ways to strategies. For example, some people need complete silence, whereas others benefit from white noise (eg. a fan or radio) to mask other sounds.
A few rules of sleep hygiene are however highly recommended:
- Use the bedroom only for sleep, not as a place to discuss issues, play highly arousing computer games or work.
- Have a set bedtime and a routine and stick to it every day.
- Avoid daytime napping.
- Avoid caffeine after lunch. Caffeine can cause a racing mind to get to more alert. Caffeine is also a diuretic, and can make you need to wake in the night for the toilet.
- Avoid drinking before bed.
- Consider Melatonin to help create sleep pressure and sleepiness at night. This is the naturally occurring chemical released by the brain as it gets dark, and starts to make us sleepy. I
- Avoid blue light. Make sure blue light filters are turned on all tablets and smart phones. You can even wear special blue light filtered glasses to watch TV. Blue light suppresses melatonin in the brain, which stops us from getting sleepy.
- For people who feel tired in the morning, stand out in the sunlight and get a good dose of blue light OR if it is winter and you wake before the sun, try some blue light glasses which beam blue light directly into your eye. This will suppress the melatonin and help improve sleepiness for people who have excessive melatonin.