Good Habits for A Good Night's Sleep

Keep a sleep log for several weeks to help identify activities and behavior that may interfere with your sleep. Each day, write down when you wake up and go to bed, and when you drink caffeinated beverages, exer-cise, and take naps.

Exercise regularly, preferably in the late after-noon.

Do not exercise strenu-ously within 2 or 3 hours of bedtime, as it may impair your abil-ity to fall asleep.

Don't take a long nap during the day; this may make it more difficult to fall-asleep at night.

Eat at regular times during the day, and avoid a heavy meal close to bedtime.

After lunch, stay away from anything that contains caffeine.

Don't smoke; if you can't quit, at least try not to smoke for an hour or two before bedtime.

Avoid excessive mental stimulation before bedtime.

Establish a schedule to help regulate your body's inner clock. Go to bed and get up at about the same times every day, and follow the same bedtime preparations each night to create a sleep ritual.

A warm bath or a few minutes of reading in bed, listening to soothing music, or meditating are all useful sleep rituals. Try each one to see what works for you.

Keep your bed-room dark and quiet. If you can't block outside noise, mask it with an inside noise, such as the hum of a fan.

Use your bed room only for sleeping, not for working or watching TV

Wear nightclothes that are loose fitting and comfortable.

If your worries keep you awake at night, deal with them some other time. Devote 30 minutes after dinner to writing down problems and possible solutions, and then try to set them aside.

If you can't sleep, don't stay in bed fretting for more than 15 minutes or so. Get up, go to another room, and read or watch TV until you are sleepy. Be sure to get up at your regular time the next day.

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