How do I… improve my sleep hygiene?

You already know how important it is to shower, brush your teeth and wash your hands before eating. But what about your sleep hygiene?

During the day: Aim to limit naps or time spent in bed as much as possible (we know it can’t always be avoided).
Maximise your exposure to natural light (or use a SAD lamp).
Do what exercise is realistic for you.
If you take prednisilone, take it early in the morning so that it doesn’t keep you awake at night.

During the evening: Avoid caffeine and alcohol or any food/drink that gives you indigestion.
Try not to use your mobile phone or computer in the 1-2 hours before bedtime. Failing that, put your device on night mode, or install a program such as f.lux that reduces the amount of blue light produced by the screen.
Stick to a regular bedtime routine so that your brain learns to wind itself down – try a warm bath, or some gentle stretching. The NHS has some more recommendations for a bedtime routine.

During the night: Make sure the bedroom is reasonably cool and free from sources of light. Consider using a white noise machine.
Some patients say that propping themselves up with a few pillows so they’re not lying down helps – a wedge-shaped acid reflux pillow may be able to help you with this. You may also want to try a body pillow – a pillow with arms (pictured above) which can help support you if you are not comfortable lying flat.

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