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Tips for sleeping well (sleep hygiene)

If you practise good sleep habits, you will have the best chance of a good, refreshing sleep. A term that health professionals use to describe good sleep habits is sleep hygiene.

Many sleeping problems are due to bad habits built up over a long time. You won't fix sleeping problems in one night but if you persevere your sleep should improve. Different things may work for you, so find out what works and stick with it.

Above all, don't obsess about your sleep problems, as one poor night's sleep is not a problem. Just return to your good sleep habits the next night.


If despite practising good sleep habits, you still have trouble sleeping, see your GP, as something else may be disturbing your sleep.

How much sleep do I need?

Most people need between seven and nine hours sleep each day, but this includes naps and time spent dozing in front of the TV. Don't build up unrealistic expectations of your sleep needs.

How can I make sure I get a good sleep?

If you are having trouble sleeping, or you just want to get a good night's sleep, read below for some ideas and recommendations to try.

Go to bed and get up at the same time each day

Be physically active each day and try to spend time outdoors or in natural light

Make your bedroom as restful as possible

Take care about what you do just before bed

Take medications as directed

Quit smoking

Quitting smoking not only brings many health benefits to any smoker, it eliminates the stimulant effects of nicotine that contribute to sleep loss.

Be comfortable and relaxed in bed

Don't stay in bed if you are awake

Written by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Sleep Unit, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed July 2016.

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Page reference: 46895

Review key: HISLH-46895