Tips for better sleep
Create a comfortable sleeping environment
Make sure your bedroom is not too hot, too cold or too noisy. Sometimes, a constant low sound, such as a fan, is better than absolute quiet. If noise is a problem, try using a "white noise" device. Commercially made products are available that create low-volume sounds, like ocean waves, for a pleasant sleeping environment.
Avoid using your bedroom for work
Do not bring computers or other work-related items to bed with you. Reserve your bedroom only for sleeping and intimacy.
Establish a regular sleep-wake schedule
A regular sleep-wake schedule helps regulate your natural biological clock, promoting sound, restful sleep.
Accept your own individual sleep needs
Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep. Sleep needs vary widely; some people need only five or six hours per night, while others need nine or ten hours to feel rested. If you feel awake and alert during the day, then your sleep time is sufficient.
Be careful with caffeine
Caffeine has different effects on different people. For some, coffee or tea with dinner has little or no effect on sleep, while for others, even a small amount of caffeine early in the day may have an effect that lasts for hours.
Avoid using alcohol to induce sleep
Alcohol may initially induce drowsiness, but can cause disrupted sleep later in the night. Those who snore, or are susceptible to sleep apnea, should avoid any alcohol before bedtime, because it can exacerbate sleep related breathing problems.
A light snack before bedtime can help promote sleep, but too much food can be disruptive to normal sleep patterns and in some individuals, cause acid reflux at night.
Don't try hard to fall asleep
If you experience difficulty falling asleep, try not to dwell too much on the problem. Avoid checking the time and don't try to "force yourself" to fall asleep. Develop a passive attitude and let sleep come naturally. If you feel wide awake, get up and occupy yourself with some quiet activity until you begin to feel sleepy.
© 2008 N. Butkov