Self-Help Strategies for Better Sleep

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There are steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep (often referred to as “good sleep hygiene”):

  • Create a soothing bedtime ritual. Use your bed only for sleeping or sex. Turn off your TV and other electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. A warm bath, light reading, meditation, or other relaxing ritual may help.
  • Set a regular time to go to bed and wake up and keep it consistent, even on weekends.
  • Make sure your bed and bedroom are as comfortable and quiet as you can make them. Avoid sleeping with pets and/or snoring bed partners until you get back on track.
  • Avoid eating within three hours of bedtime. If you must eat, avoid a heavy meal, spicy foods, or lots of sugar.
  • Limit caffeine (soda, coffee, tea) and alcohol throughout the day. All are notorious sleep wreckers.
  • Stay hydrated during the day, but avoid liquids within a few hours of bedtime if you find you’re getting up in the night to urinate.
  • Get regular exercise, but try to finish at least 3 hours before your bedtime (no 9 PM aerobics classes!).
  • Try not to nap during the day. If you must, set your alarm to wake you up in 30 minutes.
  • Avoid nicotine, whether in the form of cigarettes or a nicotine patch or gum.
  • If you do wake up in the night, don’t force yourself to stay in bed. Tossing and turning could make you feel even more frustrated. Get up and engage in some kind of relaxing activity, such as light reading or mindless TV, until you’re ready to go back to bed.


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