1. Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Associate the bedroom with relaxation.
2. Avoidance/reduction of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bedtime.
3. Aim for some form of regular exercise – no later then 2 hours before bedtime.
4. Relaxation before bedtime e.g. a hot bath, relaxing music, light reading.
5. Avoid arguments, work related material, discussion/dwelling on of problems near bedtime – have cut off times
6. Practice muscle relaxation and self-hypnosis.
7. Have only a light snack before bedtime – if hungry.
8. Go to bed only when sleepy at first until a regular sleep pattern is resumed.
9. If unable to sleep – get up. Write down thoughts/notes in a sleep diary (if a problem keeps you awake or you remember something you need to do/have forgotten to do – write it down then forget about it until morning – you have written your reminder.), read, practice self-hypnosis.
Do not lie in bed worrying that you cannot sleep – this will over stimulate the brain to further awakening. Do not watch the clock, this encourages a stress response. Once the alarm clock has been set for morning there is no need to look at it again until then!
10. Go back to bed only when sleepy.
11. Keep the bedroom at a well-aired comfortable temperature. Check pillows and bed linen are comfortable – if not, change them.
12. Get up at a regular time even if sleepy, and avoid napping. This will aid in the return of normal sleep rhythm.
The relaxation technique- do the self hypnosis routine for sleep. Whilst your conscious mind is focusing on a pleasant scene it is not focusing on problems as the mind can only think about one thing at a time.