Sleep-Wake Disorders Center - Sleep Tips - New York City - Montefiore Medical Center
Go to bed only when sleepy. If you are not sleepy at bedtime, find something relaxing but not stimulating to do until you feel sleep coming on and then go to sleep.
Get out of bed when unable to sleep. If you are unable to sleep within a reasonable amount of time (about 20 minutes - but don't watch the clock), get out of bed and go to another room and do something quit and relaxing. Return to bed when sleep is imminent. Repeat this processes as often as needed throughout the night.
Allow at least a 1-hour period before bedtime to unwind. Spend 15-20 minutes in a relaxing activity (e.g. listening to music, relaxation CD, meditate.) Do not take your worries to bed with you - write them down (e.g. a to do list for the next day) and set them aside.
Establish rituals that will help you relax before bedtime. This can include a warm bath, a few minutes of reading or a light snack. These rituals should be done in another room besides the bedroom. Only go to the bedroom when ready to sleep.
Avoid using your bedroom for activities such as work, watching T.V., etc.
Curtail all sleep incompatible activities. Avoid watching TV, radio listening, planning or problem solving in bed.
Arise at the same time every morning regardless of the amount of sleep the night before. This should be done on weekends or holidays as well.
Avoid daytime naps. If you must nap, try to limit it to 20-30 minutes before 3 pm.
Avoid stimulants (e.g. caffeine, nicotine, chocolate) after lunchtime.
Avoid alcohol within six hours of bedtime, as it fragments sleep.
Avoid highly spiced, heavy or sugary foods before bedtime.
Limit liquids after 8pm to avoid getting up to use the bathroom.
Exercise regularly in the afternoon, but avoid strenuous exercise within six hours of bedtime.
Keep the bedroom environment quiet, dark and comfortable.
Pets sleeping with you may interfere with a full night's sleep. Consider keeping them on the floor.