Health & Wellness

Healthy Sleep Habits

Article Summary

Getting high-quality sleep, and enough of it, is a useful tool in your vestibular recovery toolbox. When you are well-rested, your body is better prepared to respond to conventional treatment efforts. Sleep deprivation can cause or exacerbate vestibular symptoms. This article gives you tips to help you establish healthy sleep habits.

Take Sleep Seriously

Standard Sleep Time

  • Establish a regular bed and rise time every day, even on weekends.
  • Allow enough time for sleep so that you wake up refreshed (For adults, 7 – 9 hours is recommended)

Avoid

  • Caffeinated substances after 2 pm (coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, etc).
  • Alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime.
  • Nicotine within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Digital devices – Use blue light blockers for TV, smartphone, computers, or other light producing equipment and do not look at electronic devices within one hour of bedtime because it will signal the brain’s pineal gland to stop secreting melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep in response to darkness.

Bed is for Sleeping or Intimate Activities Only

  • Do NOT read, watch TV, use the phone, etc.

Prepare for Sleep One Hour Before Bed

  • Lower the amount of light around you
  • Do quiet activities like listening to music, reading with a yellow light*, taking a warm shower/bath, etc.
  • Write down a list of your next day activities and leave the paper and your thoughts, planning, worries, etc. in a room outside of your bedroom.

Prepare the Room

  • Cooler (62 -75 degrees Fahrenheit) is better.
  • Dark (or, use mask) with no night lights (have a flashlight within reach to use if you get out of bed and to use if the power goes out).
  • Control noises that bother you with earplugs or sound screening device (fan, air conditioner, soft sounds like rain, etc.).

Trouble Going to Sleep or Staying Asleep?

  • Listen to a guided sleep and/or relaxation meditation.
  • If you awake in the night and can’t go back to sleep within 20 minutes, get up and do a quiet activity (read or listen to something soothing, warm bath), using a softer light, then go back to bed when you get sleepy.
  • If you have a problem sleeping through the night, stick to waking up at your usual time regardless of the amount of sleep you had the night before. Then, go to bed at your regular time.

Naps

  • Try to avoid taking a nap. However, if you need to nap, limit it to no more than 20 minutes to avoid affecting your ability to sleep at night.

Use blue light blockers for TV, smartphone, computers, or other light producing equipment and do not look at electronic devices within one hour of bedtime because it will signal the brain’s pineal gland to stop secreting melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep in response to darkness.