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Five Tips for Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Calm peaceful mixed race young lady wearing sleeping mask, dreaming.
Posted at 12:41 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 12:41:25-05

LANSING, Mich. — With everything going on in the world it may be hard to establish healthy sleep habits, but it’s more important than ever to make sure you are practicing good sleep hygiene. Healthy sleep habits, or good sleep hygiene, is important for physical and mental health and overall quality of life.

“If you aren’t practicing good sleep hygiene, it may cause insomnia, frequent waking, and daytime drowsiness,” said Jim Shuler, respiratory therapist, polysomnographer, RPSGT, LRCP, at McLaren Greater Lansing’s Sleep Center [mclaren.org].

Here are five tips from the experts:

1. Follow a sleep schedule.
It’s important to follow a sleep schedule. It’s recommended that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if it’s a weekend or holiday. It can vary up to an hour, but if you normally go to bed at 10 p.m., you shouldn’t go to bed more than an hour earlier or later. “If you are going to bed and waking up at all different times, this can affect your circadian rhythm,” said Shuler.

2. No caffeine or nicotine five hours before bed.
Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can make it difficult to go to sleep after consuming them. It is best to avoid both a few hours before going to sleep.

3. Shut off electronic devices an hour or more before bed.
Cell phones and other electrical devices emit blue light, which restrains the production of melatonin. This hormone controls your circadian rhythm and affects when you feel tired and awake. It’s best to put down the devices an hour or so before going to sleep.

4. Create a good bedroom environment.
Making a comfortable sleeping space starts with your room. Make sure that your room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. “It’s very important to have a good sleep environment,” said Shuler. “Make sure that you are getting to bed and not falling asleep in a chair or on the couch.”

5. Wear comfortable clothing.
It’s important to have a comfortable bed and sleepwear. Make sure you aren’t too hot or too cold, which could cause frequent waking at night.

If you have questions about difficulty sleeping, please make an appointment with your primary care physician. If you are looking for a new primary care physician, click here [mclaren.org] for a list of McLaren primary care physicians accepting new patients within 2-4 weeks.

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