What lifestyle changes can I make to get better sleep?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
To improve your sleep, try exercise. All exercise helps you sleep as long as it's done three hours before bedtime. But brain scans show that fitting in fitness around 7 a.m. helps you spend 75% more time in deep sleep than later-day workouts do -- and you cycle through the stages of sleep more often. Hitting all four sleep stages several times keeps your energy high, your mind sharp and your body looking good.
The following strategies can help you get a better night’s sleep:
  • Establish a routine for bed and wake-up times, and keep that schedule consistent throughout the week.
  • Turn off electronic devices when you go to bed. Set your smart phone to sleep mode and turn your bedside clock so it faces away from you.
  • Avoiding eating two to three hours before bedtime.
  • If you are unable to fall asleep, try going to another room and reading until you feel sleepy--then return to bed.
  • Exercise regularly throughout the week, two to three hours before bedtime.
  • Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and a comfortably cool temperature.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon and avoid alcohol and tobacco prior to sleep.
  • Avoid naps or limit them to no more than 30 minutes.
This content originally appeared online at Baptist Health South Florida.
Here are some things you can do to get better sleep:
  1. Have a regular “cut-off” time after which you don’t consume any caffeine. 2 p.m. is the ideal cut-off time, but if you must have caffeine after that, then go light (try teas) and avoid all caffeine after 5 p.m., including those from soft drinks.
  2. Schedule exercise into your day, and if you can, do it in the late afternoon/early evening hours. Getting active 4 to 6 hours before bedtime can help you to achieve the highest-quality sleep.
  3. Find quiet time for yourself twice a day--once in the morning and again in the PM. It can be just 10 minutes. Use the time to close your eyes and meditate, or read an article in your favorite magazine. You can do this at your desk, in a cozy chair, or even in your car as you await the kids to come out of school. If you have a full 20 to 30 minutes, try napping.
  4. If you cannot go a day without a caffeine drip every couple of hours, then it’s time to re-evaluate your work, social, parenting, and sleep schedule. Are you getting enough sleep? Can you get to bed sooner?
  5. Test out the smell-buzz yourself. When you’re feeling low on energy, open up a can of coffee, or walk through a coffee shop that actually smells like one. If you feel the urge to order something, go for green or black tea instead.
Tim Ferriss

Got the snooze blues? You can get better sleep by making these two incredibly simple lifestyle changes, as Dr. Oz guest Tim Ferriss, fitness expert and author, explains in this video. Watch now, sleep better tonight!

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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.