Sleep hygiene ideas

In my last post I discussed the sleep routine that works for us. Here are some ideas that work for others suffering from brain injuries:

  • avoid caffeinated drinks and treats – especially in the afternoon and evening
  • set the temperature in your room between 60-68 Fahrenheit (according to most research this is the ideal range for sleeping)
  •  ask your doctor about sleep aids (either prescription or natural remedies)
  • use a light designed to help with seasonal affective disorder for 15-30 minutes in the morning, the Litebook is often recommended by those with a TBI
  • wear glasses that limit the light your eyes take in before bed, similar to these cocoon low vision sunglasses
  • limit your bed use to sleep and sex
  • if you can’t sleep after a half hour get up and do something boring such as the dishes, do not get out your phone or try something fun. Literally try to bore yourself to sleep! Getting out of bed keeps you from associating it with stress.
  • get rid of all lights in your bedroom – some even have trouble sleeping if there is a little indicator light on. You can also try a sleep mask
  • a lot of people report improved sleep when they use ear plugs so that they can’t hear their partner or children making noise
  • some TBI survivors report improved sleep when they use a weighted blanket such as this. I’ve heard of people using blankets as heavy as 85 lbs but I think it is fairly individual what weight each person can tolerate or find enjoyable.
  • if possible open the window, most people find they sleep better with fresh air, but it must be a balance with all the other noise/light/temperature considerations
  • meditations before bed – I’ve heard Headspace is a popular app that you can use on your phone until you are able to do it on your own
  • keep a notepad beside your bed to record any pressing thoughts -that way you don’t need to focus on them as you are trying to sleep

For more advice check out the Sleep Foundation’s focus on bedrooms.

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