Sleep Hygiene for Adults

Sleep hygiene describes behaviors and circumstances that can improve your quality of sleep. Here are some tips you might consider to help you improve your sleep hygiene, and get a better night’s sleep:

  • Make sure that your bedroom is dark and quiet, and that your pillows and bed are comfortable. The room temperature should be cool.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and know how much sleep your body needs (seven to eight hours per night are recommended for most adults). Getting the same number of hours every night promotes a favorable, repeatable sleep cycle.
  • Limit television, cell phone, and computer activities an hour before bedtime. Pursue a bedtime sleep ritual that is more relaxing and less stimulating.
  • Create a routine that becomes familiar and relaxing. This prepares your brain for rest, and improves your quality of sleep.
  • Limit daytime napping to 30 minutes or less.
  • Any exercise, as approved by your physician, may be useful in improving sleep quality.
  • Do not eat late. Heavy, rich, fried, and fatty meals eaten late at night exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and may affect your sleep quality.
  • Limit stimulants and caffeinated beverages. Alcohol should only be consumed in moderation. While alcohol may induce sleep, it may also disrupt your sleep later in the night.
  • Exposure to daytime light, preferably outdoors as early as possible, and limited exposure to light in the evening help establish a healthy sleep-wake cycle and a good night’s rest.

When you have taken steps to improve your sleep hygiene but you haven’t seen positive results, your sleep problem may be more complicated. An ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist, or a sleep specialist can discuss additional tests and treatments for more complex sleep disorders, and which options might be best for you.

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The information on ENThealth.org is provided solely for educational purposes and does not represent medical advice, nor is it a substitute for seeking professional medical care.