What Are Some Lifestyle Changes that Can Help with Insomnia?

Several behavioral interventions are recommended for insomnia.

 

 

  • Sleep Hygiene: A variety of behaviors contribute to an environment conducive to a good night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

 

    • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes or less.
    • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants after 2 pm and close to bedtime, in particular.
    • Exercise, but not within a few hours of bedtime.
    • Avoid heavy, spicy, or rich meals close to bedtime.
    • Get exposure to natural daylight. Full spectrum lamps are useful in winter.
    • Maintain a regular bedtime and wake time—even on weekends.
    • Keep the room cool (60–67 degrees Fahrenheit) and dark. Blackout blinds may be helpful. Move electronic screens (e.g., TV, laptop) out of the bedroom. In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid screens 1–2 hours before bed as the blue light they emit can disrupt sleep.

 

 

  • Stimulus Control Therapy: This therapy trains people how to fall asleep quickly. It can be effective for people who take a long time to fall asleep (increased sleep latency). However, it can be challenging, as the needed changes can increase fatigue at first. Stimulus control therapy requires the following adaptations:

 

    • No napping during the day
    • Sleeping only when sleepy (no bedtime)
    • Awakening the same time regardless of how much you’ve slept
    • Getting out of bed if you do not fall asleep within 15 minutes
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