Sleep habits

Build Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep is one of the basic human needs. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and our health, energy level, and overall life satisfaction depend on its quality.1/2/3 

One of the fundamental ways how to achieve a good night’s sleep is to set up the right routine – going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.4 

This regular sleep/wake schedule aims to maximize synchrony between physiological sleep drive and circadian rhythms to support stable sleep patterns.5 Moreover, building a habit through a consistent sleep routine makes it easier to fall asleep quickly and reduce awakenings during the night.6

  • Habit is sleep's best friend. The first step is to make consistency a priority.
  • Pick up a bedtime and wake time, which you can stick to, and which will allow you to have sufficient time of sleep.
  • To find out how many hours of sleep you need, you can keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks.
  • After waking up in the morning, write down when you went to bed, how long it took you to fall asleep (just an estimation), how long were you awake during the night, and when you woke up in the morning to get up from the bed.
  • Calculate your average sleep duration per night and add approximately 30 minutes to define the ideal time of your new “sleep window”. Most of the adult population needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

The most important and challenging part is to stick to the new sleep schedule, ideally during both working days and free days. You may find it hard to adjust to this new sleep schedule at the beginning – it´s normal. If it is not possible to follow your new sleep routine seven days a week, at least four days a week is likely to make some difference!

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Tips for Sleep Hygiene

Following these tips can improve your sleeping schedule and create better conditions for quality sleep.

Daily routine

  • Try to be active. Practice different physical activities regularly. 
  • Try to spend more time outside in natural daylight. Avoid consumption of fat and sweet food, energy drinks as well as alcohol and tobacco.
  • Afternoon nap can affect the ability to fall asleep in the evening. If you need to rest in the afternoon, don’t sleep more than 30 minutes. Short naps are more refreshing.
  • Go to bed and wake up approximately at the same time every day.   

Evening routine

  • Avoid heavy, sweet or excesively spicy meals. Try to avoid eating 3 hours before going to sleep.
  • Avoid coffee, green and black tea or energetic beverags durng the afternoon.
  • Limit evening alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid smoking. Especially right before going to bed or during the night.
  • When going to bed, try to avoid working related issues or any personal problems that could prevent you from falling asleep.
  • Avoid working on  the computer or watching TV, phone or tablet. Electronic devices are the source of the blue light which can decrease your need of sleep.
  • You can try to incorporate relaxation practice or calm walk to improve your bedtime routine.

Sleep environment

  • A cool, dark, quiet room may help you fall asleep and stay asleep more easily
  • A bedroom temperature 18 - 20 °C is the optimal temperature efor sleeping.
  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only. It is better to avoid eating, working or watching TV in your bed.
  • Spend time in bed only when you are sleeping. If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed, get up. Try to do something to help you unwind, like reading on the couch, until you’re tired enough to go back to bed.


Build Healthy Sleep Habits
  1. Barros, M. B. D., Lima, M. G., Ceolim, M. F., Zancanella, E., & Cardoso, T. A. M. D. (2019). Quality of sleep, health and well-being in a population-based study. Revista De Saude Publica, 53. doi:ARTN 8210.11606/s1518-8787.2019053001067
  2. Freeman, D., Sheaves, B., Goodwin, G. M., Yu, L. M., Nickless, A., Harrison, P. J., . . . Espie, C. A. (2017). The effects of improving sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis. Lancet Psychiatry, 4(10), 749-758. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30328-0
  3. Chen, X. L., Gelaye, B., & Williams, M. A. (2014). Sleep characteristics and health-related quality of life among a national sample of American young adults: assessment of possible health disparities. Quality of life research, 23(2), 613-625. doi:10.1007/s11136-013-0475-9
  4. Phillips, A. J. K., Clerx, W. M., O’Brien, C. S., Sano, A., Barger, L. K., Picard, R. W., . . . Czeisler, C. A. (2017). Irregular sleep/wake patterns are associated with poorer academic performance and delayed circadian and sleep/wake timing. Sci Rep, 7(1), 3216. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03171-4
  5. Stepanski, E. J., & Wyatt, J. K. (2003). Use of sleep hygiene in the treatment of insomnia. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 7(3), 215-225. doi:DOI 10.1053/smrv.2001.0246
  6. Carney, C. E., Edinger, J. D., Meyer, B., Lindman, L., & Istre, T. (2006). Daily activities and sleep quality in college students. Chronobiol Int, 23(3), 623-637. doi:10.1080/07420520600650695