1. Lie down to go to sleep only when you are tired. Don’t go to bed early to “catch up” on lost sleep if you’re not tired. Learn to recognise waves of sleepiness, which come every 60–90 minutes, and go to bed then.
2. Avoid spending non-sleep time in bed. You should associate bed with sleep.
3. If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and do something relaxing like listening to music or reading. When you’re sleepy again, go straight back to bed. If you wake in the night, do the same as above, rather than lying in bed worrying. You should also recognise the benefit of resting peacefully – this is nearly as restorative as sleep.
4. Get up at about the same time each morning. Sleeping in too long throws out your body clock, leaving you feeling as tired as if you had too little sleep.
5. Avoid taking naps during the day. Even a brief nap during the day can take the edge of your sleepiness at bedtime.
6. Avoid exercising close to going to bed in the evening; this stimulates your body and makes you more alert. Try to exercise earlier in the day.
7. Avoid thinking and worrying in bed. Try techniques such as writing a “to do” list or meditate to help clear your mind.
8. Don’t become sleep obsessed and count hours of sleep daily – this focuses your mind on the problem and amounts to telling yourself that you should feel exhausted, so you probably will. Try to just get on with your day instead.
9. Maintain a healthy diet. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, particularly immediately before sleeping, as it impairs sleep quality.
10. Create a relaxing, dark environment in which to sleep.