Sleep tips to sleep better

What can you do about your sleeping problems yourself?

Sleep hygiene: Some useful Sleep hygiene: Some useful sleep tips for better sleep

l sleep tips for better sleep

Need sleeping tips? There are several ways to determine if you are having trouble sleeping.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have trouble falling asleep?
  • Do you wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep?
  • Do you worry about things, worry, and have trouble relaxing in bed?
  • Even though you sleep through the night, do you feel like you don’t wake up rested?
  • Do you wake up early, at an earlier time than you would like?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we’ve got some sleep tips that can help you sleep better. Don’t try all sleep tips at once, pick one that you think would help the most. It’s good to try one thing at a time so you can see what works best for you.

The 14 sleep tips to sleep better

Sleep Tip 1: Treat Problems That Interfere with Sleep

  • Depression, anxiety, and stress can affect your sleep. Poor sleep can also be a symptom of other conditions.
  • Ask your GP or other health professionals if these problems could be part of your sleep problem.

Sleep tip 2: Consult your doctor about your medication use

  • Some heart, blood pressure, asthma, anxiety, or depression medications can interfere with sleep.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if you can change the time you take your medicines so that they are less likely to interfere with sleep.
  • Don’t forget to also ask about any herbal or over-the-counter medications you may be taking as they may also affect your sleep.

Sleep tip 3: Exercise regularly

  • Exercise can reduce fatigue.
  • Regular exercise can help you sleep better.
  • It is best not to exercise or exercise 2 – 4 hours before going to sleep at night.

Sleep tip 4: Provide enough day and sunlight

Other sleep disorders: obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, restless legs syndrome, nocturnal calf cramps, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and narcolepsy.

  • Daylight is important in regulating sleep patterns.
  • Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day.

Sleep tip 5: Avoid or limit caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol 4-6 hours before going to sleep

  • Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to go to sleep.
  • Coffee, black and green tea, cocoa, chocolate, soft drinks such as cola, and some prescription drugs contain caffeine.
  • The stimulant effect of caffeine can last up to 8 hours.
  • Cigarettes and some medications contain nicotine (Nicorette, NicoDerm).
  • Alcohol may seem helpful at first as it slows down brain activity, but it disrupts sleep, so avoid alcohol before going to bed. 

Sleep tip 6: Limit the use of sedatives

  • Your doctor may give you sleeping pills or sleeping pills to help you sleep. It is advisable to view this as a temporary rather than a permanent solution. Discuss this with your doctor.

Sleep tip 7: Don’t drink a lot before going to sleep

  • Drink less than 2 hours before going to sleep.

Sleep tip 8: Set regular times for going to bed and getting up

  • If you don’t fall asleep in 15-30 minutes, get up and do something boring. For example, keep boring reading material handy.

Sleep tip 9: Make regular pre-sleep rituals

  • Read for a few minutes before going to sleep.
  • Listening to relaxing music.
  • Do relaxation exercises.
  • A hot bath 90 minutes before bed raises your body temperature, the subsequent drop in body temperature can make you sleepy.
  • If you are hungry before bed, have a light snack. A heavy meal within 2 hours of bedtime can disrupt sleep.

Sleep tip 10: Provide comfort in your bedroom and bed

  • The temperature of your room should be comfortable for you – in general, it’s better to keep the room a little cool and have plenty of blankets to keep you warm.
  • Lie down in your favorite sleeping position.
  • Block out disturbing noises and lights.
  • Use good curtains or blackout to ensure that the bedroom is completely dark.
  • TV is captivating and tends to keep you awake – avoid it. Use your bed and bedroom only for sleeping and sexual activities, not as an office, study, or recreation room.
  • Teach your body to “know” that the bed is for sleeping.

Sleep tip 11: Relaxation techniques

  • Try relaxation techniques to help you relax during the day or help you fall asleep at night.

Sleep tip 12: Excessive rest can make fatigue worse

  • If you sleep all day or are inactive, you will likely have trouble sleeping at night.

Sleep tip 13: Plan naps

  • If you can’t get through the day without a nap, get less than 60 minutes of sleep (preferably 30-45 minutes) BEFORE 3:00 PM.

Sleep tip 14: Keep a sleep diary

  • Ruysdael Slackline has developed a special sleep diary, so that you gain insight into your sleeping patterns and what influences your sleep

Sleeping problems and sleeping pills

Concept

poor falling and/or staying asleep at least three times a week, accompanied by poorer functioning during the day.

Suspected insomnia:  complaints about poor sleep, without complaints about daytime functioning.

Chronic use of sleeping pills:  Use of sleeping pills for more than 60 days in the past three months.

Diagnostics guidelines

Demand:

  • duration and frequency of complaints;
  • daytime complaints and consequences for daily functioning;
  • possible causes;
  • sleep pattern;
  • taken actions;
  • request for help.

If you are not sure about the cause of the sleeping problems or if you have sleeping complaints that last longer than three weeks, ask about:

  • beliefs, cognitions, and feelings about insomnia;
  • behavior about the complaints (fear of going to sleep, avoidance behaviors, sleeping in longer, going to bed earlier, taking naps);
  • the existence of acute or chronic psychosocial and/or work-related problems;
  • disruption of the day-night rhythm;
  • time use in the evenings;
  • complaints consistent with psychiatric disorders, especially depression and anxiety;
  • physical complaints and conditions that can explain poor sleep;
  • using alcohol, caffeine, (soft) drugs or stopping them;
  • taking drugs, such as SSRIs, or stopping SSRIs or TCAs without tapering.

Also, especially with severe daytime sleepiness, ask for indications of one of the other sleep disorders (also heteromannans):

  • periods of respiratory arrest during sleep, snoring;
  • restless legs;
  • calf cramps;
  • uncontrollable sleep attacks fit of fainting and falling for a few seconds to minutes;
  • late sleep times (between 2 and 6 a.m.), difficulty getting up and/or sleeping well.

Physical examination

This is not necessary unless there are physical complaints.

In restless legs and nocturnal calf cramps: examination for the presence of varicose, peripheral neuropathy, and peripheral arterial disease.

Additional research

If necessary, use a sleep diary.

Evaluation

Distinguish the following situations:

  • alleged insomnia;
  • short-term insomnia: < 3 weeks; cause usually known;
  • prolonged insomnia: > 3 weeks existing; often multiple causes; negative conditioning always comes into play;
  • (suspected) one of the other sleep disorders.

Insomnia Policy Guidelines

Optimize the treatment of many causes.

Provide information:

  • the range of sleep needs is six to ten hours; the time to fall asleep varies widely; it is normal to be awake for short periods several times a night; the elderly sleep shorter and lighter; during the night the sleep becomes lighter and one wakes up more easily;
  • ensure regular bedtime and wake-up times, a pleasant bedroom, and plenty of exercises during the day;
  • avoid naps during the day, perform complex activities in the evening, excessive use of screens, intensive sports, (too much) use of coffee, alcohol, or a heavy meal shortly before bedtime.

Advice for long-term insomnia:

  • stimulus control: go to bed if you are sleepy; if it takes you longer than 15 minutes to fall asleep getup and go to another room, do something quiet and go back to bed if you feel sleepy;
  • sleep restriction: limit the time in bed to the current average sleep time, increase the time in bed by 15 minutes in each case if the patient sleeps 90% or more of the time in bed in 5 days;
  • do relaxation exercises;
  • cognitive therapy: try to redirect dysfunctional thoughts and negative cognitions.

Drug treatment

Sleeping pills are only indicated in case of high distress and/or severe dysfunction during the day. Prescribe a short-term (once-only) short-acting sleep aid: 10 to 20 mg temazepam (elderly 10 mg), or 10 mg zolpidem (elderly 5 mg) and give a maximum of 5 to 10 tablets, always in combination with information and advice. Do not prescribe other drugs, such as melatonin or valerian. Do not have follow-up prescriptions repeated through the assistant.