Getting enough sleep is an important part of your overall well-being. Lack of sleep can make it hard to function. Many people experience feelings of drowsiness and fatigue during the day.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) affects up to 33% of adults in the United States. EDS makes it hard to stay awake and focused. It can interfere with your ability to work and get through your day. It can be dangerous if you need to drive or operate machinery.

Some conditions, such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, can cause EDS. Medications or other health conditions may also be an underlying reason for fatigue.

Sleep hygiene is an important part of improving EDS. Sleep hygiene refers to all the routines and habits that may help you improve your sleep. From how you start your day to the steps you take as it gets closer to bedtime can make a difference in the quality of your sleep.

Here are a few steps you can take to achieve the one small step of setting a consistent sleep schedule.

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Our bodies like routine. It’s smart to try to go to bed around the same time every night. Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. You can figure out your ideal bedtime based on when you need to get up.

You’ve probably noticed that if you have a busy day or evening, it can be harder to settle down and fall asleep. It’s smart to take some time before bed to signal to your brain and body that it’s time to wind down.

Consider setting a timer for an hour before you want to go to bed as a reminder to start this routine. Do your best to keep this same schedule even if it’s the weekend or you’re on vacation.

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Once you set that timer and get into the routine of winding down before bed, use that hour wisely. Do things around your space to signal that it’s time to settle down.

Consider dimming lights, putting away any devices, and turning off the TV. Bright light is stimulating. Blue light from devices may interfere with sleep.

Your body releases a hormone called melatonin in larger amounts as you get closer to bedtime. Exposure to blue light may prevent melatonin release. That means your melatonin may not be at the right level when you try to fall asleep.

This hour is a good time to switch to calmer activities. Try:

  • reading
  • journaling
  • coloring
  • knitting
  • stretching
  • doing yoga
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Along with prepping your body for sleep, there are ways to get your bed and sleeping area ready for you, too.

If you’ve ever been to a fancy hotel, you may have had turn-down service. If so, you might know the bliss of sliding into that perfectly-prepped space. Your version may not be exactly the same, but it can still set the tone for a good night’s sleep.

Turning down your bed can include:

  • removing any clutter on the bed and tidying the area around your bed
  • smoothing bed sheets and covers
  • making sure pillows are in the right position
  • “turning down” your covers by pulling the corner of your made bed down into a triangle shape, exposing your pillow
  • turning off any bright lights, closing blinds, and turning on a bedside lamp or night light
  • cooling the temperature of the room by adjusting the air conditioning, opening a window, or turning on a fan
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A noisy space can make it hard to settle down. You may not be able to control all noise sources, but think of the things you can change. Once you put down your electronic devices for the night, switch them to silent or “do not disturb.” This way, you won’t receive an alert every time a notification comes in.

If you live in a busy neighborhood, the extra noise may interfere with your sleep. Consider using a white-noise machine or earplugs.

If you like listening to music or a podcast, turn down the volume in the evening. This can be a nice alternative to watching TV if you want to change your nighttime routine.

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Just as your bedtime routine matters, trying to wake at the same time every day also matters. This means setting the same alarm even on weekends and holidays.

As you get more consistent with your sleep routine, the hope is that you will get more quality sleep. You may start to find that you naturally wake around the same time daily. This is a good sign that you are getting enough sleep.

Once you are up, don’t forget to make your bed, so it’s ready for turn-down service later.

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Mindfulness strategies can be helpful in settling your brain for sleep. It’s common for worries or to-do lists to pop into your head when you’re trying to fall asleep. Mindfulness keeps your brain in the present moment. This can calm your body and brain to prepare for sleep.

You can try mindfulness before you get into bed or once you are already in bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, you can also get out of bed and try some of these in a quiet, dark space. Continue until you start to feel tired, then return to bed.

One way to try mindfulness is by listening to a guided meditation recording. You can also:

  • Try square breathing: Inhale through your nose for a slow count to 4, hold for 4, breathe out through your mouth for 4, and hold for 4. Keep repeating.
  • Visualize a beautiful place: Focus on all the details that you can see, touch, smell, hear, and taste in this setting.
  • Do a body scan: Start with your toes and work your way up to bring awareness to any areas of tension, and then release it.

There are several possible causes of EDS. It results in fatigue throughout the day, affecting your mood and ability to function. Having good sleep hygiene is one of the best ways to manage or prevent EDS.

There are steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene. You can try to keep a consistent sleep and wake-up schedule, even on weekends and holidays. Ensure you have enough time to wind down before bed. Adjusting the temperature and lighting of your room may also help.

If you still have difficulty managing EDS even after setting a consistent sleep schedule, consider speaking with a doctor.