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Practice the following for good sleep hygiene:
1. Sleep as much as you need to feel refreshed and healthy the following day, but not more. Excessively long times in bed seems to be related to shallow sleep.
2. Try to get up at about the same time EVERY morning, regardless of when you retired the night before. This helps establish a sleep/wake rhythm of cycle and will eventually help you feel sleepy at the same time each night.
3. Exercise the same amount each day, preferably in the late afternoon or early evening. Occasional exercise does not necessarily improve sleep the following night. Too much activity late in the evening can stimulate your body and make it difficult to relax for sleep.
4. Make sure the bedroom is quiet and dark. Occasional loud noises, like aircraft fly-overs, disturb sleep even in people who are not awakened by noises and cannot remember them in the morning.
5. Keep the temperature comfortable -- neither too warm or cold. 65 degrees farenheit is recommended.
6. Don't go to bed until you feel sleepy. If it's bedtime but you're not tired, do something to relax (like reading) until you feel sleepy.
7. A light snack may help sleep. A heavy meal will not.
8. An occasional sleeping pill may help, but chronic use is ineffective.
9. Avoid napping. Usually naps do more harm than good; you will be less sleepy when you want to sleep.
10. Caffeine in the evening disturbs sleep, even in those who feel it does not.
11. Alcohol helps people fall asleep more easily, but that sleep is fragmented.
12. Don't smoke. Chronic tobacco use disturbs sleep.
13. Don't rehash today's problems or worry about tomorrow's schedule.
14. If you can't sleep, go to another room, and do something relaxing. Reading or a light snack may help.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|