Sleep Optimization Guidelines


Compiled by Megan C Taylor – adapted from a lecture by Rocky Garrison (2007)

Trouble sleeping?

Try these 4 rules:

  1. Don’t go to bed until you’re tired

  2. If you don’t go to sleep after 15-30 min, get out of bed

  3. Don’t stay in bed more than 15-30 min after you wake up in the morning (or during the night)

  4. Wake up at the same time everyday!

*Note: You can keep a sleep log to look for trends or improvement. Note when you go to bed, how long it takes you to go to sleep, any time periods you spend awake during the night, when you wake up, when you get up, and how rested/rejuvenated you feel upon waking.

Simple Rules for Quality Sleep:

  • Keep light, sound and worries to a minimum when it’s time to sleep. No blue lights, turn clocks away, put nightlights in bathroom out of sight in bedroom. You can stress about responsibility in the morning, take this time to prepare yourself for what tomorrow brings by allowing yourself this much needed, therapeutic break!

  • If you wake up for greater than 15-30 min a night, get out of bed and do something calming and non stimulating (minimal light – NO TV or Computer).

  • If you must work a night shift and come home in the morning, wear sunglasses on the way home to minimize light exposure, and go inside as quickly as possible.

  • If you don’t get tired until late, and want to pull your sleep cycle earlier, expose yourself to bright light as early as possible in the morning.

  • If you get tired early and want to delay your sleep cycle, expose yourself to bright light later in the day (afternoon/evening).

  • Melatonin is a sundown hormone in the brain, that naturally peaks at 0.5 mg. At high doses (2-6 mg) it induces sleep. This works best for supporting adjustment to shift changes or jet lag.

  • Do not do anything in the bedroom but sleep (sex is acceptable, too).

  • 7.5 hours is the median amount of sleep across cultural sleep patterns, and extremes on either side of this (very few or very many hours) are associated with increased risk of mortality. So “beauty sleep” has its limits too.

  • The first cycle of sleep is the most complete and therapeutic, therefore the “Siesta” sleep schedule of napping in the middle of the day, may be slightly more helpful than only sleeping at night.

  • Menopause, certain medications, and caffeine or exercise later in the day can affect sleep.

  • Create a sleep routine to prepare your mind and body for sleep. Shower, drink herbal tea, read a book, something calming and comforting.


admin posted at 2012-10-15 Category: Health Information

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