Tips for a Better Nights Sleep

  1. Avoid nicotine and caffeine. These are addictive stimulants that can keep you awake. Smokers often experience withdrawal symptoms at night, and smoking in bed is dangerous. Avoid caffeine for eight hours before your desired bedtime. Your body doesn't store caffeine, but it does take many hours for it to eliminate the stimulant and its effects.
  2. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. Don't exercise within two hours of your bedtime, however. Exercising right before bed may make getting to sleep more difficult.
  3. Make your bedroom cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Adjust the lighting, temperature, humidity and noise level to your preferences. Use blackout curtains, eye covers, earplugs, extra blankets, a fan, a humidifier or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
  4. Sleep primarily at night. Daytime naps may steal hours from nighttime slumber. Limit daytime sleep to less than one hour and don't nap later than 3 p.m. If you work nights, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight, which adjusts the body's internal clock, doesn't interrupt your sleep. If you work days and sleep at night, but still have trouble waking up, leave the window coverings open and let the sunlight wake you up.
  5. Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow. Features of a good bed are subjective and differ for each person. But make sure you have a bed that's comfortable. If you share your bed, make sure there's enough room for two. Children and pets are often disruptive, so you may need to set limits if they sleep in bed with you.
  6. Start a relaxing bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. This may include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music at a specific time, 9:00 PM for example. Relaxing activities done with lowered lights can help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleepiness.
  7. Go to bed when you're tired and turn out the lights. If you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and do something else. Refrain from watching TV if you can. Try reading or similar relaxing activity Go back to bed when you are tired. Don't agonize over falling asleep. The stress will only prevent sleep.

If after a week or two you still can't sleep, please see your doctor.  You could have a sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.  Identifying and treating the cause of your sleep disturbance can help get you back on the road to a good night's sleep.