Useful Information for Patients

Health Professionals

Sleep Hygiene

Go to bed and get up at the same time each day

Setting your internal body clock can help build a strong sleep wake cycle. Going to bed and getting up at similar times is good. This goes for both weekdays and weekends.


Improve your sleep environment

The bedroom should be quiet, dark and comfortable, not too cold or too hot. Comfortable mattress, pillows and blankets are also essential. Don’t use Electronic equipment in your bedroom before going to bed. This include computers, TV and mobile phones. It is best to leave them outside the bedroom. Do not have a clock that you can see overnight, turn it around to face the wall.


Get ready for sleep

Don’t do vigorous exercise in the late evening. Make sure your last meal of the day is at least two hours before bed. In the hour before bed, avoid computer games. TV shows that disturb or stimulate you. Relaxation routines can help, as can quiet music. If you need a snack, make it a light one.


Avoid napping during the day

Long daytime naps can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. They can make it hard to break bad sleep habits. Only nap if you really need to. If so, keep the nap short, no more than 20 minutes. Do not nap after mid-afternoon.


Avoid using sedative drugs

Sedatives do not deal with the cause of sleep problems. You can become addicted to them and it can be hard to suddenly stop. Also, the longer you take them, the less they will work. This means they are really only a short-term solution for a short-term problem.


Don’t use alcohol to help sleep

Alcohol is a downer. It can help you get to sleep, but it disturbs the quality of sleep often waking you up a few hours later. Overall, it is bad for your sleep.


Remove the television from the bedroom

TV can stimulate you. If you fall asleep with the TV on, you will often wake up again. Then you may start following the show again. This does not build good sleep habits.


Don’t stay in bed if you can’t sleep

Staying in bed if you can’t sleep can make you annoyed and frustrated. It is better to get out of bed and go to another room. Stay there until you feel sleepy. Eventually, you will start to want to sleep. Sleepiness comes in waves, wait for yours and go back to bed then.


You might have a specific sleep disorder that needs attention

Some people with sleep problems may have something specific that is causing this. It could be obstructive sleep apnoea or restless legs syndrome, or it could be a drug side effect. If you think this could be your problem, speak with your GP.