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Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep can improve mood, enhance brain power, increase energy and help to maintain a healthy body.

If you suffer from insomnia, sleep aids can help, but they’re not the only solution. You can make changes in your behavior and environment that can help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

Try some of these tips:

Learn to relax

  • Use guided imagery and meditation to relax with pleasant, nonstimulating images.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake if you can’t get to sleep. Read, watch television, or listen to music, until you feel tired.

Create a sleep-friendly environment

  • Your body is cued to dusk. Dim the lights an hour or two before bedtime.
  • Try using earplugs, a white noise machine or a humming fan to block out disruptive sounds.
  • Turn your bedside clock to face the wall.
  • Increase your exposure to morning sunshine or very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body’s internal biological clock reset itself each day and can help you to fall asleep at night.
  • Sleep in a dark, quiet room with a comfortable temperature (60-65 degrees is best.).
  • Wind down just before bedtime with a relaxing pre-sleep ritual such as a warm bath, soft music, a relaxation tape or reading.

Maintain healthy habits

  • Eat a light bedtime snack combining carbs with just a little protein, such as peanut butter on a piece of toast.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the four to six hours before bedtime. Coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, “energy-boosters” and some pain relievers contain caffeine. Alcohol prevents deep sleep; nicotine stimulates the brain.
  • Keep a regular sleep-wake cycle. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Exercising five or six hours prior to bedtime may help you sleep more soundly, but don’t exercise within two hours of bedtime
  • Don’t eat large meals within two hours of bedtime.
  • Don’t nap later than 3 p.m.

Talk to your doctor

Some medications, such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers, cause insomnia, so if you’re taking them, discuss your sleep problems with your doctor.

See a doctor if your sleeping problems continue. Persistent insomnia and feeling tired the next day could indicate a medical problem.

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