Sleep/wake times (regularity): Wake up and go to sleep at the same moments of the day (where ‘moments’ are the distinct positions of the sun during the day, e.g. dawn, noon, sunset). Try to maintain regularity in your daily schedule.
Spend time in the presence of light from the sun. Refrain from using lights or lamps while sunlight is still sufficient during the day.
After sunset, keep lighting as low as possible.
Lower brightness and/or use ‘flux’ for light emitting devices (namely phone and laptop) after the sun has set.
Regulate the light being emitted from said devices throughout the day, depending on the time of the day.
Avoid caffeinated food or drinks for at least 6 hours before going to sleep.
Avoid foods or drinks containing sugar (including pure sugar itself) for at least 3 hours before going to sleep.
Avoid spicy food and protein rich food for at least 3 hours before going to sleep.
Go to bed neither too hungry nor too full. Foods containing carbohydrates and/or the amino acid ‘tryptophan’ promote sleep and therefore serve as a good pre-sleep snack.
‘’When foods with a high glycemic index are consumed, glucose is absorbed rapidly from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream, and in individuals with normal carbohydrate metabolism, insulin levels rise concordantly to drive glucose into the body's tissues and maintain blood glucose levels in the normal range. Insulin stimulates the uptake of valine, leucine, and isoleucine into skeletal muscle, but not uptake of tryptophan. This lowers the ratio of these branched-chain amino acids in the bloodstream relative to tryptophan (an aromatic amino acid), making tryptophan preferentially available to the large neutral amino acid transporter at the blood–brain barrier. Uptake of tryptophan by the brain thus increases. In the brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Increased brain serotonin and melatonin levels result in sleepiness.’’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postprandial_somnolence#Insulin.2C_large_neutral_amino_acids.2C_and_tryptophan Tryptophan content of various foods (g/ 100g of food):
Dairy products/ Calcium
Almonds and Cashews (-)
Raw soybeans (0.59)
Cheddar cheese (0.56)
Sunflower seed (0.30)
White rice (0.08)
Avoid large meals (i.e. dinner) at least 3 hours before bedtime
Avoid excessive fluid intake in the hour preceding bed time and go to sleep with an empty bladder.
A healthy, balanced diet will promote sleep. Exercise: Get regular exercise each day. However, avoid rigorous exercise at least 4 hours before sleep.
When: If you have woken up at dawn, take the nap between noon and afternoon. Otherwise take the nap when you feel a ‘dip’ in alertness which usually follows 6-8 hours after waking. Take the nap within this period when you feel you need it, if you feel you need it. Avoid taking naps following the afternoon time of day.
Duration: Set an alarm for 20-30 minutes when you are ready to doze off.
Environment: Refer to conditions outlined in ‘Sleep environment’ if the nap is taken in bed at home. Otherwise fulfil these conditions the most you can.
Activity before sleep: Don’t engage in stimulating activity before sleep. Follow the prescribed pre-sleep routine. If there is a troubling/worrying thought keeping you awake, note it down for the assurance that it will not be forgotten when you wake up.
Association: Use the bed for sleep alone. Doing so reinforces the mental association of the bed and sleep.
Sleep position: Sleep in a position that you find comfortable. Try not to sleep in the prone (stomach facing down) position. Otherwise sleeping on your sides (preferably right side) or on your back is appropriate.
Clock watching: Try not to worry about the time when falling asleep. Avoid checking the time