I understand that this should be frustrating: now that your baby has finally started to sleep in one stretch throughout the night, your own biological clock is messed up and cannot adopt to not waking up at night. Sleep hygiene is the number one lifestyle modification that an individual with insomnia should follow. It is composed of a number of measures or habits necessary to maintain normal, refreshing, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness.
Poor sleep habits are quite various, and these include staying up too late and getting up too early. Sleep interruption with drugs, chemicals and work, overstimulation with late-night activities, all lead to inadequate sleep quality and/or amount.
The primary and most crucial sleep hygiene measure is to maintain a regular wake and sleep pattern seven days a week. It is also important to spend an appropriate amount of time in bed, not too little, or too excessive. This is not the same for all people.
Good sleep hygiene practices include:
• Avoiding taking naps during the day. It can disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
• Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. The body regulates itself to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed.
• Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine (including chocolate), nicotine, and alcohol within 4-6 hours of bedtime. Alcohol is well known to accelerate the onset of sleep, yet it disrupts sleep in the second half as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing arousal.
• Exercising: it can promote good sleep as long as no vigorous exercise is done near bedtime (it better be taken in the morning or late afternoon).
• Food: keeping away from large meals close to bedtime (i.e., within 4-6 hours around bedtime).
• Adequate exposure to natural light. This is essential for maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
• A regular relaxing bedtime routine.
• Associate your bed with sleep. Avoid eating in bed, or watching TV while in bed.
• The sleep environment should be pleasant and relaxing. The bed should be comfortable, no loud sounds (like loud music), the room temperature should be moderate, and no bright light should stay on while you sleep.