Dr. Mehmet Oz answered:No one solution is perfect for everyone when making a commitment to sleep better, so it's up to you to take this guidance and find the right combination.
Start with the knowledge that you can and will improve your sleep. You need to. Your health and happiness depend on it.
Then take a moment to consider:
- When you sleep
- Where you sleep
- What you eat and drink in the hours before sleep
- What you watch and do before you sleep
Lifestyle changes are your first and best option for improving your sleep. If you are still struggling, talk to your doctor about what might be causing your sleep difficulty. If you need a short-term sleep aid—whether it's over the counter or prescription—talk to your doctor about which one might be best for your situation and health.No one solution is perfect for everyone when making a commitment to sleep better, so it's up to you to take this guidance and find the right combination. Start with the knowledge that you can and will improve your sleep. You need to. Your... More
Discovery Health answered:
Try these tips to improve your sleep:
Helpful? 5 people found this helpfulTry these tips to improve your sleep: Exercise regularly because it helps tire and relax your body. Do not drink caffeine after 4 p.m. or so. Other stimulants, like cigarettes, should be avoided as well. Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime.... More
- Exercise regularly because it helps tire and relax your body.
- Do not drink caffeine after 4 p.m. or so. Other stimulants, like cigarettes, should be avoided as well.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol will disrupt the brain's normal patterns of sleep.
- Try to stay in a regular pattern with a regular bedtime and regular wake up time, even on weekends.
Dr. Dawn Marcus answered:The following tips can help you improve your sleep:
• Practice relaxation techniques at bedtime.
• Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
• Go to bed only when you're sleepy.
• Don't watch television or read in bed.
• Establish and maintain regular sleep and rise times.
• Don't nap more than 30 minutes per day.
• Reduce evening stimulants (caffeine, nicotine).
• Don't drink alcohol before going to bed.
• Do aerobic exercise daily, but not right before bedtime.
• Make sure the temperature in the bedroom is comfortably cool.
• If too much ambient light enters the bedroom, invest in an eye mask.
• If noises in the bedroom prevent sleep, try using ear plugs.
• If you are unable to fall asleep after 15 minutes, get up and go to another room. Only return to bed when you are sleepy.Find out more about this book: The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menop...Helpful? 3 people found this helpfulThe following tips can help you improve your sleep:• Practice relaxation techniques at bedtime.• Use your bed only for sleep and sex.• Go to bed only when you're sleepy.• Don't watch television or read in bed.• Establish and... More
Carla Weier - NASM Elite Trainer answered:If you consume caffeine limit to one cup (8oz) in the morning.
Exercise regularly. Reduce strenuous exercise within 3 hours of bedtime.
Eat your dinner as early as possible. Stop consumption of all food within 2 hours of bedtime.
Calcium rich foods assist in preparing the body for sleep.
Give yourself down time to unwind. Step away form electronics and move into a relaxing environment.
Be consistant with the time you go to bed and the time you wake.If you consume caffeine limit to one cup (8oz) in the morning.Exercise regularly. Reduce strenuous exercise within 3 hours of bedtime.Eat your dinner as early as possible. Stop consumption of all food within 2 hours of bedtime.Calcium... More
Improving your sleep is not just important for your day-to-day quality of life; it is also important for maintaining your cardiovascular health. While severe sleep problems require guidance of a physician, there are things in general that one can do to improve more minor sleep problems. The tips below may help you to get higher quality sleep.
Improving your sleep is not just important for your day-to-day quality of life; it is also important for maintaining your cardiovascular health. While severe sleep problems require guidance of a physician, there are things in general that one can do... More
- Get to bed and wake up at consistent times, even on the weekend. You may find this is difficult to do, but keeping to a more consistent schedule will help your body know when to expect periods of sleep and wakefulness.
- Treat your bedroom as a sanctuary only used for sleep and sexual activity (if applicable). That means no TV in the bedroom, or even reading in bed, which can be too stimulating to promote sleep for some people.
- Make sure the temperature of the bedroom is comfortable enough to promote sleep. Many people find a slightly cooler environment is ideal, but find the temperature that works for you.
- Darken the room with blackout curtains to help promote longer sleep in the brightness of the early morning.
- Turn off electronics (phone, computer, television) and quit other stimulating activities several hours before bedtime.
- Exercise daily. It is best to exercise earlier in the day so your body is not over-stimulated too close to bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Avoid smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant and will affect your sleep.
- If you are having trouble sleeping, get up out of bed and try a relaxing activity.
- Try strategies for coping with stress. The following activities may help: mediation, stretches or yoga, reading in a room other than the bedroom, taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, writing in a journal, or writing down the things that are on your mind so you can put them aside until the morning.
Dr. Akash Bajaj answered:
Sleep is easily one of the most underappreciated, and overlooked restorative functions of the human body. As a pain management specialist, several chronic pain disorders are further accentuated with a loss of proper sleep hygiene.
How can we improve our overall sleep patterns?
Sleep is easily one of the most underappreciated, and overlooked restorative functions of the human body. As a pain management specialist, several chronic pain disorders are further accentuated with a loss of proper sleep hygiene. How can we improve... More
- Set a regular disciplined sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake at the same time daily, to allow your body to habituate this cycle. This allows your body to prepare for its restorative cycle and quickly begin to maximize your sleeping hours.
- Avoid all electronic devices 45 minutes before sleep. All too commonly, we are lying in bed with the TV on or with iPad in hand, but this does not allow for restorative sleep. Place all electronic devices away and allow yourself to "unwind" a bit, and your sleep will be far more restful.
- Avoid stimulants after 12 noon. That afternoon cup of joe may be the perfect pick me up, but it will disrupt your sleep. Eliminate all stimulants after noon, and by the time you are preparing for sleep, you will have metabolized and excreted the majority of these agents and their metabolites.
- The temperature of a room when sleeping is extremely important. We are all a bit different, but a typical recommendation is to keep the room between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lighting can adversely affect our sleeping patterns as well. Light disrupts our circadian rhythms and can inhibit the release of melatonin, which promotes more restful sleep. Another reason to stay away from those electronic devices before bedtime.
- Exercise too close to bedtime and you will stay awake! But trying to schedule a physical activity sometime in the day ( cardio being superior in this aspect ) will accelerate release of endorphins, and this baseline subclinical increase in levels should help sleep hygiene as well.
- Eating too close to bedtime forces your body to actively digest when it should be resting, this will almost certainly disrupt sleep. Try to eat lighter and earlier. Same for alcohol. Alcohol can cause maintenance insomnia. This means there is no problem falling asleep per se, but staying asleep is actually inhibited, and restlessness and insomnia ensue.
- Herbal Supplementation - If all else fails, I do not recommend running to a pharmaceutical sleep aid. Rather, if consider using herbal alternatives, such as melatonin, or my personal favorite, valerian root. Both agents have been shown to improve sleep hygiene.
Dr. Michael Breus answered:
Probably the easiest way to improve sleep is to:
Probably the easiest way to improve sleep is to: Sleep on a more regular schedule Reduce caffeine intake and stop drinking caffeine by about 2:30 PM each day Limit alcohol to 1 glass per evening (if that) Exercise daily Give yourself enough... More
- Sleep on a more regular schedule
- Reduce caffeine intake and stop drinking caffeine by about 2:30 PM each day
- Limit alcohol to 1 glass per evening (if that)
- Exercise daily
- Give yourself enough time to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
Dr. Joshua C. Klapow answered:You may say you want better sleep. Seems straightforward enough, doesn't it? Let's stop for a minute and be more specific. What do you really want? Do you want to sleep more hours? Do you want to go to bed earlier? Get up earlier? Sleep longer on weekdays? Sleep longer on weekends? Go to bed and stay asleep all night? There are many possible goals. To make sure you reach your true sleep goal, you must be specific about what you want. Then you need to be specific about what behaviors you need to change in order to reach that goal. Everything must be measurable and observable. "Better sleep" is not measurable or observable.
Goals such as sleeping through the night without waking up, sleeping for 8 hours, 5 nights a week, and going to bed at 9:30 P.M. are all specific, observable, and measurable actions. However, they are still a bit too general. How do you make the goal "sleep for 8 hours" as specific as possible?
Here's what we came up with:
Find out more about this book: Living SMART: Five Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits ForeverYou may say you want better sleep. Seems straightforward enough, doesn't it? Let's stop for a minute and be more specific. What do you really want? Do you want to sleep more hours? Do you want to go to bed earlier? Get up earlier? Sleep... More
- Get ready for bed at 8:00 P.M. by taking a warm bath.
- Wind down with a cup of decaffeinated tea.
- Read a book for 45 minutes.
- Go into the bedroom at approximately 9:15 P.M.
- Face the clock away from sight.
- Set the alarm for 5:45 A.M.
- Turn out the light.
- Allow 30 minutes to fall asleep.
Burke Lennihan RN CCH answered:
Don’t eat right before bedtime. This is especially true for fatty foods, which have to be digested by the liver. A weak or unhealthy liver may be associated with unrefreshing sleep.
Next, avoid screen time before bed: computer, iPad, TV, etc. These screens emit blue light, which interfere with the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
In addition, order blue-blocking glasses online and wear them for several hours before bed. These glasses help your body to know that it’s time to sleep, because the blue light makes your body think it’s broad daylight.
Try to calm your mind while lying in bed going to sleep. Take a deep breath in, as deep as you possibly can, then breathe out as much as you can, squeezing out every last drop of breath. Keep doing this and imagine that you are breathing in peace, and then when you breathe out, feel you are letting go of your busy-day thoughts and letting them flow out with your outgoing breath.Don’t eat right before bedtime. This is especially true for fatty foods, which have to be digested by the liver. A weak or unhealthy liver may be associated with unrefreshing sleep. Next, avoid screen time before bed: computer, iPad, TV, etc.... More
Boston Women's Health Book Collective answered:
By avoiding the following, you can improve your sleep:
- Medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure, heart, and thyroid drugs. Research any drugs you take—including over-the-counter medications and supplements—to see if potential adverse effects include sleep difficulties, and discuss alternatives with your health care provider.
- Alcohol. Women metabolize alcohol less efficiently than men, and this difference becomes more pronounced as they grow older. Although alcohol initially is sedating, as it is broken down by the body it becomes a stimulant and can be responsible for us waking in the middle of the night.
- Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that women metabolize less effectively as they age; even coffee, chocolate, soda, or tea at lunchtime can affect sleep at night. Caffeine is also present in some over-the-counter medications including the popular pain relievers Excedrin and Anacin.
- Smoking. Nicotine is also a stimulant.
Lifestyle changes may help improve sleep, including:
By avoiding the following, you can improve your sleep: Medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure, heart, and thyroid drugs. Research any drugs you take—including over-the-counter medications and supplements—to see if... More
- Physical activity. Moderate exercise, particularly when it is done early in the day, may help you sleep better at night. Avoid exercising within three hours of going to bed, as this can have the opposite effect.
- Relaxation, massage, meditation, or other stress reduction techniques.
- Sunshine. Exposure to light during waking hours helps to set your body clock.
- Sleep hygiene techniques.
Sheri Van Dijk answered:Here are 10 tips for improving sleep:
Find out more about this book: Calming the Emotional Storm: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to M...Here are 10 tips for improving sleep: Reduce caffeine and nicotine, as these are both stimulants that will cause wakefulness. If you must have your coffee, try switching to decaffeinated or drink coffee (minimally) only earlier in the day.... More
- Reduce caffeine and nicotine, as these are both stimulants that will cause wakefulness. If you must have your coffee, try switching to decaffeinated or drink coffee (minimally) only earlier in the day. Remember that caffeine stays in your system for fourteen hours and is contained in some herbal teas, in most sodas, and in chocolate.
- Avoid going to bed either after eating a large meal (your body has to work to digest it) or on an empty stomach (hunger pains can keep you awake).
- Develop an end-of-day routine that includes calming, soothing activities that will help you wind down and prepare for sleep (such as taking a hot bath, reading a book, doing a relaxation or mindfulness exercise, or praying).
- Use your bed only for sleep (or sex). Don't engage in nonsleep-related activities like reading, watching television, talking on the phone, or working on your computer.
- Make sure that your bed is as comfortable as possible, your room is a comfortable temperature, and any light coming into your room from outside is minimal.
- Reduce the noise level in the house as much as possible, or use earplugs if necessary. If you share a bed with a partner who snores or disrupts your sleep in other ways (for example, tossing and turning, talking in his sleep), sleep in separate beds or make other arrangements that are agreeable to you both.
- Help slow or stop racing thoughts with mindfulness exercises, or help yourself relax with relaxation techniques.
- If you are unable to fall asleep after about thirty minutes, get out of bed and do something calming, such as reading a relaxing book or watching something calming on television. Avoid stimulating activities at this time, and return to bed when you are feeling tired.
- If you are wakeful throughout the night, turn your clock around, so you can't see what time it is. Watching the clock can provoke anxiety, especially when you have only a few more hours before you have to get up, and this makes it harder to fall back to sleep.
- Try not to put pressure on yourself to fall asleep. Simply accept that right now you are awake, and concentrate on doing an activity mindfully, in order to distract yourself from judgmental or distressing thoughts about not sleeping.
RealAge answered:Here are some ways to improve your sleep:
Here are some ways to improve your sleep: Avoid caffeine after lunch. Caffeine lingers in your system for up to 12 hours, so that after-lunch coffee can leave you wide-eyed at bedtime. Switch to decaf after midmorning, and try chamomile tea... More
- Avoid caffeine after lunch. Caffeine lingers in your system for up to 12 hours, so that after-lunch coffee can leave you wide-eyed at bedtime. Switch to decaf after midmorning, and try chamomile tea or warm milk in the evening. Both will help you get your ZZZs.
- Downsize those big dinners. Large dinners take hours to digest, making it hard to fall asleep. Make lunch your main meal of the day, and limit dinner to fewer than 500 calories. While you're at it, skip spicy foods and MSG for less heartburn, indigestion, and too-vivid dreams.
- Work out early. Regular workouts can help you sleep better, but exercising within three to four hours of bedtime can actually mess with sleep. Shoot for morning, afternoon, or early evening workouts.
- Skip the nightcap. Alcohol is not only one of the more prominent bad habits, but it also pulls a bait-and-switch when it comes to sleep. It makes you drowsy so you nod off, then it makes you wakeful and restless throughout the night. Skip alcohol within two hours of bedtime.
- Turn off the TV. Glowing screens from electronics, such as TV, computers, and even your e-reader, signal your brain to stay alert. Power down an hour before bed.
- Kick the habit. Like caffeine and alcohol, nicotine is a stimulant.
- Don't work in bed. The stress of going over spreadsheets and other work-related tasks makes it hard to fall asleep. If you work on your laptop, you're getting a double-whammy of stimulation because you're in bed and in front of a glowing screen. Use the bedroom for sex and sleep only.