Avoid caffeine, especially in late afternoon and evening hours. Caffeine is a very potent stimulant that interferes with sleep. If you drink sodas, make sure they do not contain caffeine. If you drink coffee, drink decaf after noon.
Rise at the same time every morning. The bodyís internal clock is set by the time we get out of bed. If we sleep late in the morning, this confuses the clock and makes it harder to sleep at night.
Donít go to bed until you feel sleepy. Engage in quiet activities before going to bed Avoid excessively stimulating activities like watching horror films or boxing matches.
Donít lie awake in bed. If you are unable to sleep, get out of bed and engage in quiet activities until you feel sleepy.
Take a light carbohydrate snack at bedtime, with milk if you can drink milk. Many people find they have more trouble falling asleep on an empty stomach.
Avoid sudden loud noises. Loud noises at night, such as aircraft flyovers, dogs barking, sirens etc. interfere with restful sleep. The effect of such noises can be diminished by using a steady, masking noise in the bedroom, such as a fan or air conditioner.
Keep the temperature comfortable. The bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 75 degrees.
Stay active during the day, even after a poor nightís sleep. We all feel less well after weíve slept poorly, but our chances for sleeping better are improved if we remain active. After a poor nightís sleep, try to keep active with large muscle activities (walking) and avoid small muscle activities (like needlepoint).
Adjust naps. Some people awaken very refreshed and rested and sleep better during the night when they take a nap. Such people should take naps. Many people awaken feeling groggy and irritable after a nap or sleep less well. Such people should avoid naps.
Get a steady amount of daily exercise. Steady, moderate exercise is helpful to sleep. Occasionally heavy workouts are not.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco at bedtime. Alcohol relaxes tense people and can reduce the amount of time it take to fall asleep, but results in fragmented, restless sleep. Alcohol should be avoided before bed. Nicotine also disrupts sleep; people who canít fall asleep without a cigarette at bedtime generally sleep better once their nicotine dependence is reduced. If you smoke, try to avoid smoking just before bedtime.
Avoid sleeping pills. When taken for an extended period of time, people come to rely on sleeping pills and feel they canít sleep without them. Sleeping pills are probably damaging to sleep when take for more than a few days in a row. If you have been taking medication for sleep, we should be talking about how to get you a good nightís sleep without it.