The Pros and Cons of Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene—or healthy behaviors meant to support adequate, restorative sleep—is a widely recommended way to enable good sleep. Though these practices can contribute to quality sleep, Dr. Siebern explains that once a real sleep issue has developed, sleep hygiene may be frustrating. She says that she sometimes sees patients who have followed sleep hygiene recommendations and still can’t sleep and are thus not only sleep deprived but exasperated as well. “Sleep hygiene in essence is preventive,” Dr. Siebern says, explaining that following these recommendations when you don’t have a sleep issue can help you maintain sleep. Once you have a sleep issue, however, professional treatment may be the only way that you find relief.

Sleep hygiene remains, however, a potentially important part of a good night’s sleep. Keep up your good habits but know that if you do have a sleep disorder, your best chance of finding relief is likely with professional help.

Here are a few tips for sleep hygiene:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
  • Make sure that your bedroom is quiet and dark.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy.
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day.
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime.
  • Relax before bedtime—taking a warm bath, listening toncalming music, or stretching may help you unwind.
  • Avoid taking naps after 3 p.m., and when you do nap, do so for no more than an hour.