Do you recognize any of these sleep patterns?
- Joe lies in bed feeling exhausted but can't fall asleep.
- Lynn's eyes pop open in the middle of the night; she struggles to get back to sleep.
- Tim slept through the night but still wakes up feeling sluggish.
During the day
- Avoid stimulants - especially caffeine - after mid-afternoon (i.e. 3 p.m.). Watch out for coffee, tea, cola, and certain medications (check the label or ask your pharmacist).
- Get regular exercise. A good aerobic workout helps your body relax. But don't overdo it! Exercising too close to bedtime may actually disturb your sleep.
- Avoid daytime naps or sleeping-in late for catching up on lost sleep.
- Use your bed for sleeping - not studying, eating or watching t.v. This will help train your body to associate your bed with being asleep vs. being awake.
In the evening
- Allow yourself some time to relax after a stressful or active day. Try reading a book for fun, watching T.V., calling a friend.
- Eat lightly. Heavy meals or snacks (i.e. fatty, rich or spicy foods) can upset your stomach.
- Cut down on liquids after dinner. You will be less likely to wake up during the night to use the bathroom.
- Moderate your drinking. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but it interferes with how well and how long you sleep.
- Try to set a regular bedtime but only lie down when you feel sleepy and not before.
- Establish a bedtime routine to cue your body that it's time to sleep. Take a shower, close the shades, set the alarm.
- Relax your mind and body. You need to let go of the day's events and any troubling thoughts that might interfere with sleep. Try a relaxation technique or a stretching routine (i.e. yoga).
- If you can't fall asleep after 15 minutes, just don't toss and turn. Get up and do something different until you feel sleepy again.
If sleep problems persist over a period of time see a health professional.
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