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What Behavioural Changes Can I Make for Insomnia?

Changing bedtime habits to treat your insomnia.

Changing one’s sleep routine

Simple lifestyle modifications to improve sleep include:

  1. Only go to bed when one feels sleepy. Try to set a routine to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Leave the bed immediately when one wakes up.
  2. If one fails to fall asleep within twenty minutes, it would be helpful to leave the bed and do something else before returning when one feels sleepy. 
  3. Avoid afternoon naps. 
  4. Avoid caffeine after lunch, avoid heavy meals during dinner without an adequate amount of physical exercise. 
  5. While some drink alcohol for sleep promotion, alcohol disrupts the sleep architecture and makes one wake up abruptly in the middle of the night. 
  6. Take a warm shower before sleeping, as this would increase the core temperature and the cooling-down effect is helpful towards sleep promotion.

Optimisation of the sleeping environment

  Apart from lifestyle modifications, the following changes to the sleeping environment also help with a good night’s sleep:

  1. Minimise the ambient light and noise in the bedroom.
  2. Avoid looking at screens (such as TV and mobile phones) before going to sleep, as screens emit blue light that tricks our brain into thinking that it is still daytime.
  3. Remove clocks where you can easily check the time at night. Frequently looking at the clock when one fails to fall asleep would heighten anxiety levels and, conversely, make it harder to fall asleep.
  4. Maintain a comfortable ambient temperature in the bedroom. For most people, this is around 22℃.

Information provided by:

Dr Keith Hariman headshot

Dr Keith Hariman

Specialist in Psychiatry, OT&P Healthcare

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.

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