Practicing good sleep hygiene can help address feelings of chronic fatigue and underlying conditions, such as insomnia. Sleep hygiene tips may help you feel better and more alert during the day if you suffer from chronic exhaustion or find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
While chronic fatigue is typically not improved by sleep, ensuring you’re getting the best-quality sleep possible is the first step towards understanding and treating your fatigue.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
If you suffer from exhaustion or insomnia, the following sleep hygiene tips may improve many of your symptoms:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol: Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and other drugs can interfere with healthy sleep, especially close to bedtime. Avoiding such substances altogether is best, but if you do indulge, make sure to avoid doing so four hours before bedtime.
- Exercise daily: Daily moderate exercise promotes good sleep hygiene. Exercise in the morning or afternoon to ensure that your exercise doesn’t interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
- Follow a healthy diet: A healthy, balanced diet can help relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue and insomnia. Sleep hygiene includes refraining from a heavy meal close to bedtime. Going to sleep on an empty stomach can also be disruptive, too. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and avoid fatty or spicy foods and refined sugar.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule: The most important part of good sleep hygiene is getting enough uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis. Go to bed and get up around the same time each day, whether it’s a weekday or weekend. Most people do well on eight to nine hours of sleep per night. More or less than this can lead to daytime fatigue, as can napping during the day.
- Make your bedroom a good sleeping environment: Make sure your bedding and the temperature in your bedroom are comfortable. Keeping your bedroom dark and quiet, and avoiding electronics–such as computers and TV–can keep your bedroom a restful place.
- Prepare for sleeping: A few hours before sleep, begin getting your body and mind ready to relax. Dim the lights and refrain from stimulating activities before bed. Do something relaxing, like drinking a cup of decaffeinated tea or hot milk, taking a bath or meditating. Avoid excess stimulation, TV and Internet use to ensure you’re in a restful place when it’s time for bed.
American Sleep Association. (2007). Sleep hygiene tips. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.sleepassociation.org/index.php?p=sleephygienetips
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Sleep hygiene tips. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/hygiene.htm
Stanford University. (1999). How to sleep well. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/howto.html
University of Maryland Medical Center. (2010). Sleep hygiene: Helpful hints to help you sleep. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.umm.edu/sleep/sleep_hyg.htm