Sleep Tips

Regular Sleep-Wake Cycle

Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including on the weekends.

Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a “circadian clock” in our brain and the body’s need to balance both sleep time and wake time. A regular wake time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help your ability to fall asleep at night.

Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing music.

Excitement, stress or anxiety can make it more difficult to fall asleep or get quality sleep. Avoid arousing activities before bedtime such as working, playing video games or paying bills.

Sleep conducive environment

Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.

Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise,” humidifiers and fans.

Use a good mattress

Sleep on a comfortable mattress.

The average lifespan for a good quality mattress is about 9-10 years.

Bedroom is only for sleep

Use your bedroom only for sleep and intimacy.

This strengthens the association between your bed and sleep. Leave work materials and electronics out of the bedroom.

Dinner time 2-3 hours before

Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.

Eating or drinking too much can negatively affect your sleep. Some people find that a light snack is helpful but avoid heavy or greasy foods.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise regularly.

Late afternoon exercise is the perfect way to help you fall asleep. Do not exercise within 3 hours of your bed time so you can allow your body time to cool down and relax.

Avoid Caffeine

Avoid caffeine (e.g., coffee or soft drinks) close to bedtime.

Caffeine is a stimulant and typically remains in the body for 3 to 5 hours, but it can affect some people longer. Caffeine is found in coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, energy drinks, and some medications.

Avoid nicotine

Avoid nicotine (e.g., cigarettes or tobacco products).

Nicotine is also a stimulant. When smokers go to sleep, they experience withdrawal symptoms that can cause sleep problems.

Avoid alcohol

Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.

Although many people think of alcohol as a sedative, it only helps you fall asleep, it may cause you to frequently awaken during the night. Avoid alcohol 4-6 hours before bed.

Avoid technology

Refrain from using technology before bed.

Turn off these devices at least 30 minutes before you lay down for bed. The artificial, or blue, light emitted by these devices reduces the production of the “sleepy” hormone, melatonin.

Plan earlier in the day

Set aside time for active worry/planning and active relaxation.

Condition yourself to avoid taking the troubles of the day to bed. If you have a lot of things on your mind, make a written list of them and what you plan to do. List making is an excellent stress reducing strategy and can promote sleep. Then just prior to bed time, try to do something enjoyable and relaxing.

Lack of sleep

What happens when you don’t get good sleep

• Impaired reaction time, judgment & vision
• Problems with information processing & short-term memory
• Decreased performance, vigilance & motivation
• Increased moodiness & aggressive behaviors
• Increased “microsleeps” – brief (2/3 seconds) sleep episodes

Sleep environment

How to promote quality sleep at home

LIGHT

• Darken the bedroom & bathroom.
• Install light blocking & sound absorbing curtains or shades.
• Wear an eye mask.

SOUND

• Wear ear plugs or use a white noise machine or fan.
• Install carpeting & drapes to absorb sound.

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