Top 10 Sleep Hygine Tips

woman rising out of bed and stretching after good sleep hygiene

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always get the most regular sleep.  Sometimes it’s so tempting to stay up late to watch whatever weird new show is on Netflix, all the while praying that it doesn’t get canceled after the first season.  The clock ticks by, you’re now 6 episodes deep into a binge that feels unending when suddenly it’s 2 AM.  At this rate, you’ve given up on the thought of showering before work.  You scrape together a couple of hours of sleep and wake up feeling a lot like Oscar the Grouch.  And then the regret settles in.  You can barely keep your eyes open, you’re yawning more and more, the coffee isn’t doing much for you, and the thought of doing any work seems unbearable. 

But the truth is, you’re not the only one.  In fact, about 70% of adults in America report having insufficient sleep at least one night every month, and about 11% of all Americans report having insufficient sleep every night.  In a country with over 300 million people, that would be more than 30 million people a night.

So, what does one do about this interrupted sleep, especially in early sobriety, when that means avoiding mood-altering substances and avoiding the abuse of over-the-counter medications simply to fall asleep?  Well, it’s time to start looking at sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene is a term we use to describe when someone has good or bad sleeping habits.  It’s important first and foremost to talk to your medical provider about your sleep, but there are a number of well-researched tips that can assist with your sleep troubles.

  1. Use your bed for sleep.  If you’re using your bed as a place to read, eat, play video games, or do work, your brain’s natural association for what the bed is supposed to be used for becomes disconnected.
  2. Keep a routine.  Try to keep the same schedule every night when you go to bed, and stay consistent.  Go to be at the same time every night on the weekday and weekends, and get up at the same time every morning on the weekday and weekends. 
  3. Remove distractions.  Try to put your phone or electronic devices somewhere so that they won’t be a distraction.  If it’s across the room on a different table, or even in a different room, try to figure out what will work best for you so that your phone isn’t taking up your attention at night.
  4. Avoid large meals, nicotine, and caffeine before bedtime.  Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, which will interrupt sleep.  As for meals, large meals can interrupt our sleep too, and people who eat late at night are also more likely to experience weight gain.
  5. No napping during the day.  The best way to ensure you’re tired enough when you go to bed at night is to stay awake during the day.  If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, try to keep it short—about an hour long.
  6. Sleep rituals.  One way of telling your body that it’s time to sleep is to get into a ritual surrounding the activity of sleep; maybe every night before bed, you do some stretches or yoga, or you read a calm book for 20 minutes, drink a Sleepy Time tea, engage in some kind of breathing exercise, etc.  This will tell our body that it’s time to start winding down for the night in preparation for sleep.
  7. A hot bath.  Taking a hot bath an hour or so before bed time can lead you to become tired as your body temperature drops back down, as studies show that lowered body temperature is associated with higher rates of sleepiness!
  8. Keeping the environment just right.  Keeping your room clean, quiet (or perhaps you have some background noise) with comfortable blankets, and a cooler temperature at night with nice blankets is a perfect way to convince your body to sleep.  Try to make sure that there aren’t any lights that can interfere with your eyes or noises that are going to get on your nerves!
  9. Exercise.  Getting your energy out during the day is a good way to make sure your body doesn’t feel full of pent-up energy at night.  It’s also a good way of alleviating stress and releasing feel-good endorphins which can leave you in a calmer mood once you prepare for bed.
  10. Supplementation.  Here at Bridging the Gaps, we use a number of different modalities to assist with sleep hygiene including the use of supplementation, such as melatonin and other supplements like Magnesium P-5-P and Niacinamide.  Depending on an individual’s needs, we might also utilize L-Theanine, Gaba, Glycine, Valarian Root, and/or Tryptophan.  Especially in early recovery, the use of supplements can be highly beneficial to getting a good night’s sleep because our brains may be lacking in the amino acids or neurotransmitters that would otherwise be helping us to sleep comfortably at night.

Whatever ways you choose to improve your sleep hygiene, we’re sure that you’ll find this list to be helpful in one way or another.  It’s important to experiment with these different tips and see what works best for you; for many in early recovery, however, it might be important that you utilize all of these skills to get a good night’s sleep as your body works to adjust to the new normal of sobriety.

However, if you feel that you or someone you know is struggling and in need of additional support, we encourage you to reach out and give us a call at 540-535-1111, or email us at  We are available 24 hours for initial assessment or additional program information, and we would be happy to help.  You don’t have to go through this alone!

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