How can I create a sleep schedule?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
All health improvements benefit from keeping a schedule. Whether that's working out every day before work, stretching every night before bed, or automating your meals, creating a schedule helps you to be prepared and less susceptible to excuses, lapses, and temptations. Here are some tips for creating a sleep schedule:
  • Set a bedtime that works with your schedule, both during the week and on weekends, and stick to it.
  • Four to six hours before bed, do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine.
  • Two to three hours before bed, do not eat a full meal.
  • Sixty minutes before bed, turn off all electronics (unless you are a doctor on call, Blackberries, cell phones, and pagers should not enter the bedroom) and dim the lights. In the middle of your brain is something called the pineal gland. It releases melatonin, the hormone that readies the mind and body for sleep in response to lowered light levels.
  • Thirty minutes before bed, have something to drink. Water is preferable, but warm milk can help soothe you to sleep.
  • Five minutes before bed, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and slightly cool. The ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wake up at the same time every day, during the week and on weekends.
Helpful hint: Reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex only. You are strengthening the association between your bed and sleep. Do not bring work into the bed, watch TV, talk on the telephone, or perform any other wakeful activities.
This content originally appeared on

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.