Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Increased feelings of stress
- Impaired memory
- Shortened temper
- Lower motivation
- Slower reflexes
- More mistakes
- Keep regular hours—Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
- Regular exercise—Exercise helps relieve tension. Try to avoid exercising too close to bedtime or you may have a hard time falling asleep.
- Cut down on stimulants—Consuming stimulants, such as caffeine, in the evening interferes with your ability to fall asleep and may affect deep sleep. Instead, have a cup of herbal tea, which is noncaffeinated, before bed. You may even want to cut caffeine from your diet entirely.
- Do not smoke—Smokers tend to take longer to fall asleep, awaken more often, and experience disrupted, fragmented sleep. Talk to your doctor about how can successfully quit .
- Avoid eating before sleeping—Plan to finish eating 2–3 hours before you go to bed. If you eat too close to bedtime, then you could experience nightime waking.
- Drink alcohol in moderation—You may fall asleep faster, but drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime interrupts and fragments your sleep.
- Develop a sleep ritual—Whether it is taking a hot bath, drinking a cup of herbal tea, or reading a book. Doing the same things each night just before bed cues your body to settle down for the night.
- Unwind early in the evening—Deal with worries and distractions several hours before going to bed. Make a list of things you need to do tomorrow, so you will not think about them all night. Try relaxation exercises, like slow rhythmic breathing.
- Sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation—It is difficult to get deep, restful sleep on a bed that is too small, too soft, or too hard.
- Create a restful sleep environment—A dark, quiet room is more conducive to sleep. Sudden, loud noises or bright lights can disrupt sleep. You may want to try using a white noise machine to block out distractions. A room that is too hot or too cold can disturb sleep as well. The ideal bedroom temperature is between 60-65°F.
- Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex —Do not use the bedroom for things like paying bills, watching television, or discussing the problems of the day.
National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov
National Sleep Foundation http://www.sleepfoundation.org
Better Sleep Council Canada http://www.bettersleep.ca
The Canadian Sleep Society http://www.canadiansleepsociety.ca
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Insomnia and sleep. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/insomnia-and-sleep. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Healthy sleep tips. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/healthy-sleep-tips. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Insomnia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2013. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Insomnia fact sheet. Office on Women's health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/insomnia.html. Updated July 16, 2012. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Melatonin. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary. Updated August 22, 2013. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014 -
- Update Date: 03/04/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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