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Tips for a Better Night's Sleep

Tips for a Better Night's Sleep

You may be able to improve your sleep by simply changing your habits and activities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers the following tips for getting a better night's sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule.  Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day - even on weekends.
  • Don't exercise too late in the day.  Do it at least five hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine.  Their stimulating effects can last as long as eight hours.The Sleep Health Institute at Chilton Medical Center
  • Don't drink alcoholic beverages before bed.  Alcohol interferes with deep sleep, plus you're likely to wake up in the middle of the night when the sedating effects wear off.
  • Avoid large late-night meals and beverages.  A large meal can cause indigestion, while excessive drinking will cause frequent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Skip long, late afternoon naps.  Napping after 3 p.m. - or more than one hour - can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
  • Relax before bed.   Unwind as part of your bedtime ritual by reading, listening to music, or even taking a hot bath.
  • Create a good sleeping environment.  Keep distractions out of the bedroom, such as bright lights, a television and computer.  Make sure your bed is comfortable and the temperature is on the cool side.
  • Get enough sunlight.  Try to get at least 30 minutes of natural sunlight each day.  It helps to regulate daily sleep patterns.
  • Don't lie in bed awake.  If you're still awake after 20 minutes in bed, get up and try a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. Watching the clock can make it even harder to fall sleep.
  • See a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping.  If you consistently find yourself feeling tired during the day despite spending enough time in bed, you may have a sleep disorder.  A sleep specialist can help.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Additional Resources

You can find additional information about sleep and sleep disorders by calling the Chilton Sleep Health Institute at (973) 831-5351, or by visiting the web sites of these organizations:

The National Sleep Foundation:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

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