Sleep disturbance is found in as many as 40% of individuals who have sustained a brain injury, these disturbances can range from difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, sustaining deep sleep (healthy REM cycle) difficulty waking up and remaining drowsy throughout the day.
The causes of these issues can be difficult to establish and consulting your medical practitioner to find a diagnosis and work towards solutions is imperative, however whilst this often long and complex process is going on there are things YOU can do to help achieve a better night’s sleep.
Sleep hygiene is a term you will often hear health professionals discuss and whilst it seems like a bizarre term, sleep hygiene simply refers to habits and practices that assist you to sleep better on a regular basis.
- Below are key sleep hygiene tips- see the end of the blog for sleepy hygiene downloads
- Wake up at the same time each day, even after a poor night’s sleep.
- Be as active as possible during the day and spend time outdoors.
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you have each day. Avoid caffeine-containing drinks after lunchtime (e.g. cola, tea, coffee, cocoa, energy drinks).
- Avoid naps during the day. If you do nap, keep it to 20 minutes and before 3 pm.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol in the evening.
- Avoid heavy meals, exercise or working on the computer late in the evening.
- Relax for 30 minutes before going to bed. Try a warm bath.
- Don’t eat, work, watch television, read or discuss problems in bed.
- Ensure you’re comfortable and that your bed is in a quiet, dark environment.
- If you’re too hot or cold in bed it will be harder to sleep — try and keep cool or warm.
- Don’t stay in bed if you are awake for more than 20 minutes, go to another room and do something relaxing.
Good sleep habits may take some time to develop, and it is important to keep practicing these tips to get the most from your sleep, repetition and routine is key!
See the below links to popular sleep hygiene downloads from reputable sources.