A very long list of sleep maintenance suggestions
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A very long list of sleep improving suggestions:-2 to 2
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Area of interest:Evidence RatingExplanation by Adam KComments by othersComments by others
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Everyday life
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eat healthy1Being overweight reduces sleep quality and risk of sleep disorder
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reduce sugar and refine carb intake?These contribute to daytime sleepyness which may result in overnapping - Kat
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be a healthy body weight2BMI over 30 puts you at risk of sleep apnea, if anything above Normal BMI w/ sleep apnea, losing weight may help reduce apnea symptomsbeing overweight can contribute to sleep apnea - Kat
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limit caffeine (in chocolate or decaf too)2Caffeine response differs significantly in peopleLimiting caffeine to earlier in the day may also be of some use - Kat
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quit smoking (stimulant and breathing)2Less deep sleep, less total sleep, and longer sleep latency
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exercise daily (not around your sleep time by at least 2-4 hours)2Increased deep sleep, less sleep interruptionsEven a small amount helps - start with 10 minutes of cardio and work your way up if you have to - KatOr, google "stronglifts 5x5"
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reduce anxiety and stress2Anxiety increases sleep latency and sleep interruptions
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limit irregular work shifts2Circadian rhythmicity important for all parts of health
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avoid long commutes1Rising too early can miss REM, and less total sleep, some confounding factors to consider
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Be physically healthy2Diseases generally lead to sleep disorder, e.g. diabetes, cancer, etc
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Get enough sunlight2Light is most important zeitgeiber for circadian rhythmicity
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Analysing your sleep setup
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use your bed for sleep and sex only1Bed restriction in *older adults*I don't really know, but older adults who dawdle in bed tend to get better sleep quality if they restrict bed times to reasonable sleep times
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sleep in darkness – the more the better; including all LEDs2Light is most important zeitgeiber for circadian rhythmicity
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Cool room temperature of sleep 15-25c015 may be too cold for people with poor core body temperature control but good for younger healthier more active people. 25 probably too warm for everyone.In-bed, or rectal measurement are more accurate measures, too complicated for normal people to do
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check if you are using comfortable pillows0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakingsI guess room temperature is only important if it is to cool down, because if it's too cold you can always pile more blankets on until you are comfortable. Recommended room temperature would be 17-22C then
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body pillow, neck pillow, arm pillow, to permit a better body position while asleep0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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check if your bed is comfortable0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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evaluate sleep location in bedroom - too close to window, door, other noise / light?0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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Evaluate sleep distractions in the room1distractions, by definition, increase sleep latency
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mattress life expectancy check (around 10 years)0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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pillow life expectancy check (around 2-4 years)0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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allergens in the bedroom2definitely affects sleep qualityEasiest thing to do is buy dust-mite-proof pillow and mattress covers. Wash bedding weekly in hot water and a little bleach (kills mold). Vacuum regularly. Keep windows closed during known allergy seasons. If you have bad allergy symptoms, get tested and get immunotherapy shots if you can afford it. - Kat
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limit pets in bed1Sharing bed space with anything decreases sleep quality, including sleeping with partners
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limit children in bed1Sharing bed space with anything decreases sleep quality, including sleeping with partners
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make sure there is enough room for those in the bed1Sharing bed space with anything decreases sleep quality, including sleeping with partnersand enough sheets and blankets for each - consider separate sheet/blanket for each side of the bed if your sleep partner tugs on the sheets and wakes you - Kat
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bedside notepad for anything you might want to write down - if something is keeping you up; you can use this to record things and effectively put them out of your mind so that you can go to sleep.??is this a distraction?
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Understand approximate sleep hours needed (7-9 in most adults, different summer-winter)2Most people underestimate how much they needphysiological 'need' for sleep doesn't decrease with age, only 'feel' for need for sleep does
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certain smells can help, certain smells can hinder.0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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Have sleep in your schedule2Regular bed time important for circadian rhythmicity
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have a sleep schedule that includes sleep on the weekends (no skipping the weekends)2Sleeping in on the weekend can be very good for people who undersleep during the weekdays, but it's not as good as regular sleep of courseok
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Turn your clock so you can't see it while the lights are out / don't check time on your phone2If you have a clock, make sure clocks are either dimmed or red LED
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what is your bed and blankets made out of? Are these the best materials for you for this bed?0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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don't have a TV in the bedroom2Emits light, is a distraction, etc
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Don't have a computer, tablet, or phone in the bedroom2Emits light, is a distraction, etc even worse than TV
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calming bedroom colour ( need source)0Unless referring to red light or candle light use at night, not sure what it's referring toI suspect this is relating to the 'look' of the bedroom in general, and how you fee when you walk into it. I.e., if you hate mustard yellow, re-paint your room if the walls are mustard yellow - Kat
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On the way to sleep
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Pre-Bed foodextreme diets (VHC or VLC) can ruin sleep quality, and carbohydrates for dinner can reduce sleep latency
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go to bed neither hungry nor stuffed (food)1highly subjective, but true
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don't eat meals too close to sleep2either digestion slows, or sleep is disrupted, one or the other (subjective)
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small evening meals0highly subjective, no guarantees, only moderate, weak or no associations with sleep quality and wakings
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limit late night alcohol2alcohol reduces quality of deep sleepit only reduces sleep quality if it is in your system while you sleep, so you could drink in the afternoon and have it leave your system by the time you sleep and you'd be fine.
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limit late night liquid0usually trueone thing to note is marijuana, which is commonly consumed, also affects sleep quality, but far less is known about its effects, it seems it is variable
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avoid sugar heavy foods-1carbs will reduce sleep latency, though I don't recommend sugar for general good health
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avoid spicy or greasy meals before bed (or other food you know does not agree with you)1high fat meals correlated with poor sleep measure
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tryptophan snack – if you are hungry try a light snack before bed-2evidence for this actually working is non-existent, a well perpetuated mythCommon suggestions included warm milk, a banana, cheese on crackers, cereal and milk, also turkey - combine carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan to boost seratonin for calmness.
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Things that aren't food
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Have set a regular bedtime2Circadian Rhythmicity important
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have a bedtime routine or ritual which includes relaxation1highly subjective, but I guess true
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decrease brightness of home lighting ~1-2 hours before bed2
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eliminate blue-spectrum home and screen lighting ~1-2 hours before bed2blue light increase heart rate, and wake inducing catacholamines and brain activity, reduces sleep qualityAvoid fluorescent tube lights, compact fluorescent or LED bulbs labeled daylight, cool white, or bright white (instead, use sub-3500K color temps, sometimes called warm white or soft white), and screens without a red-shift application running - Kat
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avoid electronics before bed2game-like activity increase heart rate, and wake inducing catacholamines and brain activity, reduces sleep quality
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keep noise down while heading to bed0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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organise for tomorrow so you can stop thinking about it0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'At its simplist, make a todo list for tomorrow. If there's a lot on your mind, try a full-on 'brain dump' on a very large sheet of paper, several hours before bed: write down everything you think is important for the next month or so. Use that to inform your todo lists.
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Bedtime media; book; audiobook; calming music (soft),0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'I guess it's up to the person
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stretch (debatable)0more likely to be because of exercise
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wind down an hour before bed1exercise too close to sleep increases heart rate, increases sleep latency
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take a warm bath/shower1only if you need to lower your core body temperature (see temperature advice above)
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before bed – write down what is on your mind and resolve to leave it for tomorrow0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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read before bed by soft light0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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don't have a nightcap (alcohol)2alcohol reduces quality of deep sleep
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neutral neck position in bed and before bed.0mostly supported by alternative chiropractic studies, which is poor form of evidence
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hot pack on the neck1only if you need to lower your core body temperature (see temperature advice above)
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do a simple armchair hobby to relax0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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Go to sleep when you are tired. Don't wait in bed frustrated if you can't fall asleep.0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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consider wearing socks to bed0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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sleep diary of if you felt sleepy during the day, things that you think might influence your sleep tonight.0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'Include food, exercise, sleep details, # of awakenings in the middle of the night and their approx. duration, rate the sleep out of 10, time of last wakeup - naturally or to an alarm? If you were dreaming when your alarm went off, go to bed earlier so that your alarm is not waking you up in the middle of a REM cycle - Kat
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Going to bed
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Select nightclothes (or none) and bedding to keep yourself heat stable (thermoregulation)0
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If you are having difficulty getting to sleep – try imagine what you would like to dream about0only anecdotal evidence, but may be valuable, I personally recommend this techniqueIf you are an artist or a crafter, imagine the design of a project you would like to do someday - Kat
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deep breathing (or other relaxation technique - visualisation breathing, yoga)2sufficient evidence to say it works if you have good compliance with the practice
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For while you are asleep
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Noise / Light
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earplugs0-2benefits depends on environment, will help (2) in high noise environment
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white noise (device, fan, or app, pink noise)0-2white noise improves noisy environment, but silence is better
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humidifiers for air quality1may improve breathing problems, if sleep quality is compromised by breathing problems, cpap etcMust be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent mold - Kat
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air filter1may improve breathing problems, asthma and allergies specificallyTape a 20x20" electrostatic furnace filter to a 20" box fan for a cheap air filter - Kat
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fans for air movement+cooling, and/or white noise0-2white noise improves noisy environment, but silence is better
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eye mask for light0-2benefits depends on environment, will help (2) in high light environment
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Sleep in the dark - at night if you have a choice; use heavy curtains if streetlights or sunlight present2
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Sleeping positions - get comfortable!
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try a leg pillow (pillow between the knees) or holding a pillow0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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make sure you are sleeping in a neutral neck position0mostly supported by alternative chiropractic studies, which is poor form of evidence
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try other positions if that one is uncomfortable0highly subjective, but may be valuable despite no 'evidence'
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try each side, back, front.-1I'd say sleeping on back is not good for sleep parameters, higher risk of sleep disorders developing and worse sleep quality
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Staying asleep
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Body temperature, Room temperature1only if you need to lower your core body temperature (see temperature advice above)
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gel mattress topper (to cool your mattress down)
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