1. Try to keep a regular bedtime and establish a regular rising time in the morning, even on weekends and other days off from work. A regular sleeping pattern strengthens the sleep/wake cycle and promotes a regular sleep-onset time.

  2. Avoid coffee, cola, tea, chocolate, alcohol, and tobacco after supper.

  3. Avoid heavy evening meals. A light snack or warm milk before bedtime may promote sleep.

  4. Wind down for a period before sleep time. Quiet activities, such as reading, relaxing in a hot bath, prayer, or meditating, help promote sleep.

  5. Avoid using the bed as a place for reading, watching television, doing paper work, eating, or other activities. Bedrooms should be used only for sleeping or sexual activity.

  6. If sleep does not occur after 30 minutes in bed, get up and engage in a quiet activity until sleepy again. Do not watch T.V. A brief, slow walk may be helpful.

  7. Avoid taking naps during the day, especially in the evening. If you must nap, do so in the early afternoon for no longer than 30 minutes.

  8. Check the bedroom temperature. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold interfere with sleep. Reducing the noise level is also helpful in creating an environment conducive to sleep.

  9. Engage in gentle exercise to produce fatigue before sleep. Heavy exercise should be avoided just before retiring, because it delays sleep.

  10. Schedule daily exposure to outdoor sunlight, especially in the late afternoon.

  11. Keep evening lights as low as possible for a few hours before bedtime.

  12. Restrict fluids in the evening and before retiring to help reduce the frequency of awakening to go to the bathroom.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR if your sleep does not improve after trying these suggestions.

If there is also STRESS/ANXIETY/NERVOUSNESS, then see elsewhere.

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This page was last updated on 25 October 1999.