- Why you may not be able to fall asleep:
- First you want to identify potential medial issues like sleep apnea
- Minimize light from televisions and electronic devices
- Write out your “to do” list so it is out of your head
Tips to fall asleep:
- Keep the room cool, studies have shown sleep is deeper and more restful at cooler temps, 68 degrees is suggested.
- Use a humidifier, it helps keep the nose moist and makes breathing and, thus, sleeping easier.
- Try to get a regular bedtime and wake up time. Use a nap instead of sleeping late, but keep your naps under an hour.
- Monitor LIGHT: get sunlight or bright light during the day, especially early in the morning. Minimal lights in the night, especially bathroom, use a night light rather than full lights.
- Meditation is GREAT for calming the mind.
If you wake up in the middle of the night:
- Stay out of your head. The key to getting back to sleep is continuing to cue your body for sleep, so remain in bed in a relaxed position.
- Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, deep breathing, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed.
- Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, try getting out of bed and doing a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim so as not to cue your body clock that it’s time to wake up. Also avoid screens of any kind—computers, TV, cell phones, iPads.
- Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when you are fresh and it will be easier to resolve.
Foods to avoid:
- Avoid the nightcap: alcohol decreases deep sleep and increases arousals from sleep
- No caffeine past 3pm
- Don’t eat within a couple of hours of bedtime, ESPECIALLY SUGAR
- No exercise before bed, but a little stretching helps.
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