Tips for Improving Your Sleep

Here are some tips that may help with periodic insomnia. While these can benefit some people, they don’t always do much for more chronic insomnia; that’s when you’d want to consider talking with a sleep specialist. Before taking any medications (natural, over-the-counter or prescription), consult your doctor.

1. Keep a consistent bed and wake-time 7 days a week. Our bodies have an internal clock that craves routine.

2. Use your bed solely for sleep and sex. If you can’t sleep after about 20 minutes, don’t try to force it. Instead, get up, sit somewhere else and do something quiet and relaxing in dim light (without a screen!) Return to bed only when you’re sleepy. If you don’t fall asleep, get up and repeat. Avoid looking at the clock, as clock-watching can worsen the ability to fall asleep.

3. Maintain a cool bedroom temperature (65-68°) to improve sleep. Adjust your thermostat for your personal comfort.

4. Exercise regularly. Sleep is like a battery for the body that needs recharging. If you don’t use it during the day, it won’t need to charge as much at night. But avoid exercising strenuously within 3 hours of bedtime.

5. Get exposure to as much daylight as possible. In the morning, lift your shades and bathe your brain and eyes in light, even on a cloudy day. In the evening, dim the lights and limit screens at least an hour before bed. Move screens away from you during sleep hours.

6. Find a relaxing pre-bedtime routine that does not include screens, perhaps reading or a warm bath, gentle stretching or lavender essential oil.

7. Avoid alcohol and nicotine within 3 hours of bedtime as they can worsen sleep quality.

8. Consider a daily meditation. It can improve sleep and quiet the brain overall. There’s no one right way to do it. Try different types of meditation and find one that works for you.

9. Refrain from eating at least 3 hours before going to bed to ensure proper digestion, improve sleep and optimize brain health.

10. Try supplementing with melatonin occa-sionally. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body as part of our circadian rhythm, preparing us for sleep. Working on computers and other electronics can block melatonin production. However, melatonin is not recommended for long-term use.

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