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Sleep Matters

Sleep Hygiene: Tips for getting a good night`s sleep

What determines a good night's sleep varies from one individual to another. Trying a variety of things may help in finding the best routine for the perfect night's sleep.

Ten sleep hygiene rules to consider adopting:

  1. Cut down on your `bed` time. Spending a lot of time in your bed prior to your regular sleep periods can make your sleep more shallow. Find a different location to do activities such as reading or watching TV other than your bed.
  2. Maintain a regular bedtime. Waking up too early or sleeping past the time you need to get up are clues that you might need to adjust your bedtime. Keeping a regular bedtime every night allows you to get enough rest before rising.
  3. Avoid a clock in your bedroom. It is OK to set an alarm but put it in a place where you can`t see the time on the clock. This will eliminate any pressure that clock-watching during the night may cause.
  4. Exercise:  Getting regular exercise will help you sleep better at night. It is best to do this three to six hours prior to bedtime.
  5. Avoid `trying` to get to sleep. The more you try the more awake you become. If you are having difficulty falling asleep, get up and watch TV or read for a while until you naturally become drowsy.
  6. Eat a light snack. Try drinking a glass of milk, cheese and crackers or any other light snack might help.
  7. Avoid caffeine. Try avoiding all coffee and beverages containing caffeine, such as colas, from lunchtime on. You may want to try avoided tea and chocolate as well if you are very sensitive.
  8. Deal with worries prior to bedtime.  If you are worry-prone, take a half-hour earlier in the evening for some `alone` time. Write down what worries you and think about potential solutions to problems you are facing. Set them aside at bedtime.
  9. Try taking a hot bath at bedtime. Relaxing in the tub often helps you sleep more soundly.
  10. Try adjusting your bedroom environment. Do whatever makes you most comfortable such as using heavy drapes to make the bedroom darker, opening a window for some fresh air, or drowning out noise with a fan. Find out what works best for you.

Source: Mayo Clinic brochure on the topic of Insomnia published by Mayo Clinic Press.