- Go to bed and get up at the same time. Going to sleep at the same time every night trains your body and brain to wind down and get ready for slumber.
- Get up if you cannot sleep. If you lay awake for 15 minutes, get out of bed and go to another part of the house. This way your bed is less likely to become a place of stress.
- Do something quiet and relaxing like read a book. This can also help take your mind of the fact that you are not sleeping. When you feel drowsy, return to bed.
- Get a comfortable mattress. If your mattress is lumpy, too soft, or too hard, it will be hard to get comfortable enough for sleep.
- Keep it cool. Your body temperature goes down when you sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool enough but not so cool that you wake up cold. Experiment with the thermostat and blankets to find what temperature works for you.
- Control the light. Light from the street, a TV, or the next room can make it hard to stay asleep. Use curtains and doors to make your room dark so you can sleep. Or try using a sleep mask.
- Control sounds. Make your room as quiet as you can. You might use a fan, soft music, or sound machine to create white noise you can sleep to.
- Hide the clock. Watching the hours tick by can stress you out. Turn the clock so you cannot see it from your pillow.
- Put away electronics. Silence any device that reminds you of emails you need to send or things you need to do. You will be better off doing those things after a good night's sleep.
- Drink something warm and non-caffeinated like warm milk or herbal tea
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Read a book or magazine
- Listen to soft music or an audiobook
- Count backward from 300 by 3
- Starting at your feet and working your way up to your head, tense each group of muscles for a second or two and then relax them.
- Do belly breathing. Put your hand on your belly. Take a breath in, letting it push your hand out as your belly rises. Your chest should not move. Hold it for a count of 5, release for a count of 5. Repeat.
- Limit evening activities. When you are on the run, your day may not end until late evening. Try to limit evening plans to a few nights a week. Give yourself time for a soothing bedtime ritual to help prepare you for sleep, such as a warm bath or reading in bed.
- Exercise. Regular exercise will help you sleep better. Just be sure you plan your workout right. Overtraining or exercising less than 3 hours before bedtime can make you toss and turn.
- Limit naps. If you are having trouble sleeping, cut out the catnaps. You will sleep better at night.
- Limit caffeine. It might be a helpful pick-up in the morning, but you may go to bed wired if you drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated sodas in the afternoon or evening.
- Limit alcohol. It may help you get to sleep at first, but alcohol keeps you from deep, restoring sleep later at night.
- Kick the habit. Need another reason to quit smoking? The nicotine in cigarettes can disrupt sleep.
- Eat smart. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. Try to eat 2 or 3 hours before bedtime. If you feel hungry right before you go to bed, have a small, healthy snack like a small bowl of yogurt or sugar-free cereal.
Everyone has trouble sleeping some of the time. But if it happens often, lack of sleep can affect your health and make it hard to get through the day. Learn lifestyle tips that can help you get the rest you need.
What you can do
Some people have trouble falling asleep. Others wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep. You can change your habits and your home to make sleep less fleeting.
Stick to a sleep schedule:
Make your bedroom comfortable:
Try different ways to relax. Find what works for you. Such as:
Live for Good Sleep
Things you do during the day can affect how well you sleep at night. You should:
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your health care provider if lack of sleep is interfering with your daily activities.
Adams SK, Kisler TS. Sleep quality as a mediator between technology-related sleep quality, depression, and anxiety. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 2013;16(1):25-30. PMID: 23320870 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23320870.
National Sleep Foundation. sleepfoundation.org. Accessed September 16, 2015.
National Sleep Foundation. 2014 Sleep in America Poll: Sleep in the Modern Family. Arlington, VA; 2014.
Peuhkuri K, Sihvola N, Korpela R. Diet promotes sleep duration and quality. Nutrition Research. 2012;32(5):309-319. PMID: 22652369 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22652369.
Pigeon WR. Treatment of adult insomnia with cognitive-behavioral therapy. Journal of clinical psychology. 2010;66(11):1148-1160. PMID: 20853442 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20853442.
- Review date:
- December 07, 2016
- Reviewed by:
- Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2008 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.