If you find it difficult to get at least seven hours of sleep, here are some tips:
- Be sure to turn off all electronics before going to sleep (e.g., TVs, computers, blackberries, cell phones, iphones, etc.)
- Reduce daily afternoon nap time to less than 20 minutes
- Avoid looking at the clock at your bedside during the night if you're having trouble sleeping as this may increase anxiety
- Place a small pillow underneath your waist and a long pillow between your legs when lying on your side as this will reduce lower back pain
- Use a pillow with proper thickness underneath your head so that your neck will be in a neutral alignment with your body
- Be sure to maintain an ambient temperature between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit within your bedroom
- Go to sleep and wake up about the same times each day--including weekends!
- Reduce caffeine consumption after noon
- Regular exercise can improve sleep quality as long as it is performed not too close to bedtime (e.g., allow at least 3 hours post-exercise)
- Avoid heavy meals late in the day as this taxes the digestive system and therefore may inhibit sound sleep
- Reduce alcohol consumption within 3 hours before bedtime as this may also inhibit sound sleep
- Dim the lights within 3 hours of bedtime so that your brain can trigger melatonin, the hormone chiefly responsible for bringing on sleep
- Reduce noises and loud music before bedtime
- Quit smoking as nicotine is a stimulant
- Ban pets in bed while sleeping
- Enjoy some light reading before bedtime as this winds down the brain
- Avoid sleeping pills
- If you suffer from chronic insomnia, consider addressing such factors as depression, medication side effects, acid reflux, asthma, arthritis, etc.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."