Getting a Better Night’s Sleep:
- Practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed at the same time each night.
- Establish a regular relaxing "wind-down" bedtime routine
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and comfortable
- Wake up at the same time every morning.
- Avoid naps unless they are scheduled to make up for a sleep deficit the night before.
- Avoid caffeine for 8 hrs before bedtime.
- Avoid nicotine altogether.
- Avoid late night sugar snacks.
- Limit alcohol to fewer than 2 drinks.
- Get regular aerobic exercise, ideally 3 or more hours before bedtime.
- Avoid watching TV in bed.
- Avoid large evening meals and spicy or greasy foods that might give you an upset stomach or indigestion.
- Aim for a dark, quiet sleep environment with a comfortable temperature and humidity.
- Avoid crash diets or skipping meals.
- Use reliable sleep aids when necessary: decaffeinated hot tea, milk, a warm bath, a massage, and sexual activities are great sleep inducers.
- Melatonin is a popular over-the-counter sleep aid, but has been shown to have a weak effect in sleep disturbances other than jet lag.
- If these practices still don't offer the sleep you need, talk to your doctor about an evaluation of the problem and short-term prescription drug therapy.
- Be sure to discuss the appropriate way to take any prescription sleep aid with a healthcare professional
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Created: 12/19/2000  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 5/9/2009  - Donnica Moore, M.D.