Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep is an important building block for optimal health. Many Americans report problems with sleep. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and can arise from multiple different causes including medical and mental health conditions, breathing problems at night (e.g. sleep apnea), and unhealthy sleep habits. Unhealthy sleep habits can lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability and mood problems, weight gain, forgetfulness, memory problems and increased accidents. When sleep problems are caused by unhealthy sleep habits, sleep can be significantly improved by adopting new, healthy sleep habits. These habits are known as sleep hygiene and can have a major impact your sleep. 

Basics of sleep hygiene include:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule: go to bed and get up the same time every day including on weekends. Make sure to go to bed early enough to allow for at least 7 hours of sleep time. 
  • Establish a calming routine each night before bed
  • Avoid screen time 60 minutes before bedtime
  • Get enough physical activity during the day
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch or avoid altogether if you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • If do don't fall asleep after about 20 minutes, get out of bed and don't return to bed until you feel ready to fall asleep
  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and relaxing. Keep the temperature comfortable and on the cool side

Read more about sleep hygiene on the web here and check out our handout for better sleep on our patient education page.

Also check out our blog post on mobile apps for health including CBT-i Coach, the free app created by the VA to help you learn about sleep and healthy sleep habits.

Our doctors at Live Well Family Medicine can help you determine the cause of sleep problems and work towards achieving health promoting sleep.