There are simple rules that can help anyone improve their quality of sleep.
- Eliminate caffeine after noon. This means coffee, colas, dark chocolate and all foods that contain caffeine.
- No smoking just prior to or after bedtime. Nicotine can interfere with your sleep.
- Set your alarm and turn your bedroom clock around where you can not see it. If you wake in the middle of the night, worrying about what time it is causes anxiety that may hamper your ability to fall back asleep.
- Darken your room and brighten your surroundings as soon as you wake up.
- Eliminate all background noise, even if you think you are adjusted to it. NO TV or RADIO while you sleep. Your ears and your brain will remain active and will respond to noise. If you need to filter out noise you can’t control, use “white noise”. This is noise that doesn’t change pitch or volume, such as a fan.
- Maintain a regular bed time and wake up time, even on the weekends. If you do vary your sleep patterns, try not to change it more than an hour. This will help keep your internal rhythms or “brain clock” set. This is very important.
- Use your bed only for sleep or sex. Plan out tomorrow’s work before you go to bed. Some people use their bed as a place to pay the bills, or worry about the next day before they go to sleep. If this happens, the brain begins to link the bed and bedroom with anxiety instead of a place of restful sleep.
- Avoid napping during the day. If you do nap, make sure it is at the same time every day and it is for no more than 30 minutes.
- Do not use alcohol as a hypnotic and avoid it within 4-6 hours before bedtime. Alcohol may help some fall asleep initially, but it fragments and lightens later sleep.
- Consistent, moderate exercise deepens sleep, but do not do it within 3 hours of bedtime.
- Don’t eat a large meal close to bedtime. A light snack with milk or cheese will help promote sleep.
- Relaxation techniques or light stretching can help if you are tense.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep so that you will feel refreshed the next day. Usually 7 – 8 hours.
If you follow these rules and are still sleepy in the daytime, you may want to consider investigating whether you have a sleep disorder. Remember – Sleep is 1/3 of your life.
Call South Central Sleep Center at 601.426.2886 with any questions you may have.