Creating habits that help you have a good night’s sleep is referred to as “sleep hygiene”.  Insomnia and other common sleeping problems are often caused by bad habits that are reinforced over time.  Continuous use of sleeping pills may also have a negative impact on your sleep hygiene, often losing their effectiveness while causing a dangerous dependence.   You can dramatically improve your sleep quality by making a few minor adjustments to lifestyle.

Listen to your body clock

Your sleep cycle is controlled by an internal physiological body clock.  Good sleep hygiene means working with your body clock, not against it.  Begin a routine of getting up and going to bed the same time every day.  Over time you’ll find yourself getting sleepy at the same time every night.

Improve your sleeping environment

A good night’s sleep requires that your bedroom be relaxing and comfortable.  The right mattress and the right temperature are very important and vary by individual. Our bodies are hard wired to wake up at dawn so you also want to make sure that your room is dark enough or you wear a night mask. If you can’t control the noise, wear ear plugs.

Only use your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy.  If you’re using your bedroom to watch T.V., work on your laptop or talk on the phone, stop.  Your mind will associate your bedroom with activity.

Avoid Drugs

Cigarettes, Alcohol and Sleeping Pills all have a negative effect on your sleep hygiene.  Cigarettes are a stimulant and actually accelerate heart rate and increase blood pressure, making it hard to sleep.

While alcohol may initial help you fall asleep, it disturbs the rhythm of sleep patterns and doesn’t provide a restful sleep. 

Sleeping pills fail to address the causes of insomnia and have a rebound effect which tends to make falling asleep even harder.  These drugs should only ever be taken as a temporary last resort.

Relax your mind

Worrying is the leading cause of insomnia for many people.  If you tend to worry, schedule a half hour of worry time well before bedtime and make a list.  This often helps to put the worries away for the night. Relaxation, meditation and breathing exercises are also helpful.

Rebecca Ginder is a trained Sleep Therapist for insomnia and other sleeping disorders.  If you’d like to learn more about she can help you develop good sleeping habits, call her today at 561.450.5255

Rest assure, you’ll be getting a good night’s sleep soon!