Rules of Sleep Hygiene

Proper sleep hygiene has 4 components:

  1. Behavior
  2. Environment
  3. Diet
  4. Exercise

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1. Behavior

Rule 1:

Have a regular schedule.
Go to bed and wake-up at the same times, regardless of the day of the week.

Rule 2:

Have a relaxing pre-sleep routine.
Engage in a routine prior to sleep in order to prep the mind/body for sleep.

Rule 3:

Ensure bedroom only used for sleep or intimacy.
Only go to bed when drowsy.;
Do not eat, watch TV, or read in bed.

Rule 4:

Limit the time you spend awake in bed. If you are awake in bed for 15-20 minutes, get up and leave bedroom.
Engage in quiet activity until drowsy.

Rule 5:

Avoid naps.
Only nap if necessary to retain alertness (30 minutes maximum). 
Avoid napping 6-8 hours prior to sleep.


2. Environment

Rule 6:

Have a dark bedroom.
Avoid bright lights, because bright lights can disrupt sleep.

Rule 7:

Set cool temperature (or comfortable temperature).
Uncomfortably warm bedrooms disrupt sleep.

Rule 8:

Avoid/minimize loud noises.
Use ear plugs or “white noise” machines to minimize loud noises.

Rule 9:

Have a bedroom free of potential allergens.
Allergens can disrupt sleep because of sneezing, sniffling, and coughing.


3. Diet

Rule 10:

Avoid caffeine 6-8 hours before sleep.
Chocolate, some teas, coffee contain caffeine.
Reasonable daily amount of caffeine is 1-2 cups of coffee.

Rule 11:

Set cool temperature (or comfortable temperature).
Uncomfortably warm bedrooms disrupt sleep.

Rule 12:

Avoid alcohol 3-5 hours before sleep.
Alcohol may helps sleep onset, but sleep will be fragmented and poor quality.

Rule 13:

Eat a light carbohydrate snack prior to sleep.
Hunger can disrupt sleep.  Avoid large meals prior to sleep.
Avoid sugars and caffeine.


4. Exercise

Rule 14:

Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise promotes a regular sleep/wake schedule.
The body likes a routine.

Rule 15:

Avoid strenuous exercise 3-5 hours before sleep.
Exercise raises body temperature; During sleep body temperature lowers, and increased body temperature confuses the mind/body of the regular sleep/wake schedule.

Contact Information

The Sleep Center
New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai
310 E. 14th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 614-8288  TEL
(212) 614-8294  FAX


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