The power of a good night's sleep: harness it!

  1. Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule 7 days per week
    • This keeps the biorhythms on schedule which helps with more than just sleep
  2. Enough total sleep time: 7.5 to 8 hours per night for most adults
      Prioritize and Protect it!
  3. Exercise daily,  not within 3 hours of bed time
  4. Set aside time for planning/thinking/worrying
    • Not near bed time
    • Take notes and make lists for tomorrow
  5. Avoid alcohol and nicotine within 3 hours and caffeine within 6 hours of sleep
    • While alcohol may help with falling asleep, it tends to disrupt sleep later
    • Caffeine doses are unpredictable and the duration of effect varies a lot from person to person
  6. Avoid bright light in the evening as this may make it harder to fall asleep
    • This includes sunlight and computer screen light
    • Amber-colored sunglasses or films that block the blue wavelength in light should reduce the effects
  7. Create a relaxing sleep environment
    • Quiet, dark, and not too warm
    • Good supportive mattress
    • Use bed for sleep and sex only, not for work, balancing your checkbook or emotionally charged phone conversations
  8. Create a pre-bed ritual lasting 15 to 30 minutes to help prepare for sleep (like a warm-up before exercise)
    • Stop your evening activity at least 30 minutes before sleep
    • Do something for yourself (e.g.: a facial, foot bath, crossword, needle work, listen to relaxing music)
  9. Visualization / Relaxation / Meditation
    • These "distract" a busy mind with restful images or thoughts that help sleep happen as other thoughts are blocked out
    • Practice helps it work better
    • Can be used anytime including the middle of the night to go back to sleep or to reduce stress during the day
  10. Get out of bed if you are not sleeping - don't watch the clock!
    • Do something quiet in a dim room until you feel sleepy, then try to sleep. Avoid TV and computer: too much light, too stimulating

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book!