Does Sleep Hygiene Work?
I think most people know at least something about sleep hygiene. For example, you've probably heard that you should minimize blue light exposure (e.g., from cell phones or TV) and limit caffeine intake in the afternoon/evening. Here are some other basic recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
What might be surprising is that, for those who struggle with sleep, these basic guidelines are unlikely to make or brake it. Behavioral conditioning (more on this in future blog posts) is far more effective in actually improving sleep length and quality. That being said, setting up your bedroom for the best sleep possible just makes sense. So... try the things mentioned above first, but don't get too upset if your sleep is still not perfect.
The next blog post will talk about stimulus control. Stay tuned!