you recognize any of these sleep patterns?
- Joe lies in bed feeling exhausted but can't fall asleep.
- Lynn's eyes pop open in the middle of the night; she struggles
to get back to sleep.
- Tim slept through the night but still wakes up feeling sluggish.
getting enough sleep is important, so too is the quality of sleep.
If you haven't had a "good night's rest" you may have
trouble operating at your peak during the day. Consider using some
of the following guidelines for improving sleep habits. You may
find yourself waking up rested and refreshed!
- Avoid stimulants -- especially caffeine -- after mid-afternoon
(i.e., 3 p.m.). Watch out for coffee, tea, cola, and certain medications
(check the label or ask your pharmacist).
- Get regular exercise. A good aerobic workout helps your body relax.
But don't overdo it! Exercising too close to bedtime may actually
disturb your sleep.
- Avoid daytime naps or sleeping-in late for catching up on lost
- Use your bed for sleeping -- not studying, eating or watching
TV. This will help train your body to associate your bed with being
asleep vs. being awake.
- Allow yourself some time to relax after a stressful or active
day. Try reading a book for fun, watching TV, calling a friend.
- Eat lightly. Heavy meals or snacks (i.e. fatty, rich or spicy
foods) can upset your stomach.
- Cut down on liquids after dinner. You will be less likely to wake
up during the night to use the bathroom.
- Moderate your drinking. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but
it interferes with how well and how long you sleep.
- Try to set a regular bedtime, but only lie down when you feel
sleepy and not before.
- Establish a bedtime routine to cue your body that it's time to
sleep. Take a shower, close the shades, set the alarm.
- Relax your mind and body. You need to let go of the day's events
and any troubling thoughts that might interfere with sleep. Try
a relaxation technique or a stretching routine (i.e., yoga).
- If you can't fall asleep after 15 minutes, just don't toss and
turn. Get up and do something different until you feel sleepy again.
sleep problems persist over a period of time, see a health professional.
to Common Ailments page
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