Have a hard time sleeping? Tips to get a good night's sleep after a concussion.

Here are some suggestions to help you get a consistently good night's sleep:

  • Set up a routine time to go to bed and to rise each morning – and stick to it, even on weekends. Consistency is very important in developing a good sleep-wake cycle.
  • Engage in calming activities 30 minutes prior to bed
    • Avoid stimulating movies, books, or exercise during this time
    • Some people find a warm bath an hour or so before bed relaxing.
    • Avoid eating a heavy meal immediately prior to bed, but if you are hungry you might want to eat a light snack.
  • Complete any exercise 1.5 to 2 hours before you go to sleep
  • Expose yourself to natural light during the day
  • Avoid alcohol intake and limit caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening, from all sources (e.g. coffee, tea, colas, chocolate).
  • Extra sleep may be necessary in the days immediately following an injury. However, avoid habitually napping during the day if possible. If a nap is necessary, try to limit it to 15 or 20 minutes before 3:00 p.m.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy. It is not a place to watch TV, read, or complete work.
  • If you are unable to sleep 20 to 30 minutes after retiring, get up and engage in a calm activity such as reading a relaxing book, listening to music, or playing solitaire. Return to bed once you start to feel sleepy. Repeat this cycle until you fall asleep. Avoid lying in bed awake for long periods of time. You want to teach your body and mind that bed is a place to sleep with the goal of eliciting sleep as an automatic response when you retire for the night.
  • Minimize noise, light and temperature extremes during sleep with ear plugs, window blinds, or an electric blanket or air conditioner. Even the slightest night-time noises or luminescent lights can disrupt the quality of your sleep. Try to keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature – not too hot (above 75 degrees) and not too cold (below 54 degrees).
  • Commit to trying these strategies for four weeks before deciding whether or not they work.
  • Some people find combining good sleep hygiene with other techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or visualization, useful in achieving a restful sleep.