Thoughts on Getting Good Sleep

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1. Getting up and out of bed at the same time every day is an important part of establishing a regular sleep-wake cycle.

2. Minimize or eliminate your use of tobacco (in any form). Nicotine can be quite stimulating and interfere with getting to sleep. An addiction to nicotine if serious enough can awaken you in the middle of the night with cravings.

3. Caffeine (in any form to include: tea, soft drinks, chocolate, coffee, energy drinks, etc.) stays active in your body for several hours. On average half of the caffeine you consume at any given time will still be active in your body 7 hours later. Caffeine is very effective at preventing drowsiness so avoid using it after the middle of the afternoon to minimize its interference with getting to sleep at night.

4. Alcohol in the evening or at bed time may cause drowsiness but as it leaves your system throughout the night it will cause your sleep to be less sound and restful.

5. Large or spicy meals late in the evening can result in less restful sleep and additional discomfort (and medical problems) such as reflux and heartburn.

6. Go easy on the amount of fluids you drink of an evening in order to diminish awakenings to get up and go to the bathroom during your hours of sleep.

7. Exercise during the day is good for your general health and sleep but strenuous exercise close to bedtime results in your mind and body being less relaxed.

8. Put together a regular bedtime routine that will serve as a signal to your mind and body that it is time to wind down and go to sleep.

9. Make your bedroom a pleasant place to sleep. Pay attention to the noise, light, temperature, etc. in your bed room and make changes as necessary so you can get your best sleep.

10. Don’t make your bed a routine location for work, eating or entertainment (TV etc.). Use your bed mainly as a place for sleeping.

11. If you have been in bed trying to go to sleep for 20 minutes or more and are getting frustrated at not getting to sleep then consider getting out of bed and going to another room to read or relax until you feel sleepy.

12. If you have severe snoring, breathing lapses or violent muscle jerks in your sleep or are having persistent sleep problems that don’t seem to be improving despite your using reasonable strategies then you should probably talk to your doctor about further sleep evaluations or treatments.