Suggestions for Better Sleep
MINIMIZE OR AVOID STIMULANTS
n Avoid alcohol (wine, beer, and hard liquor) within 3 hours of bedtime.
n Avoid caffeine-containing beverages or foods after 2 pm; if sensitive to caffeine, avoid it after 12 noon.
NIGHTTIME TENSION AND ANXIETY
n Avoid anxiety-provoking activities close to bedtime.
n Avoid watching the news before going to bed.
n Avoid reading stimulating, exciting materials in bed.
n Avoid paying bills before bed.
n Avoid checking your financial reports or the stock market before bedtime.
n Avoid arguments before bedtime. Schedule difficult conversations well before bedtime—preferably at least 3 hours before.
SLEEP PLANNING AND PREPARATION
n Plan your sleep by putting it into your schedule; plan for 81⁄2 to 9
hours in bed.
n As much as possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
Avoid Sudafed or other decongestant cold medicines at night.
Complete any aerobic exercise before 6 pm (or at least 3 hours before bedtime).
There are many relaxing yoga or stress reducing mindful breathing CDs or DVDs available to help you find a relaxing bedtime ritual that works for you.
A hot bath also relaxes muscles and reduces tension.Add 1-2 cups Epson salts (magnesium sulfate absorbed through the skin is very relaxing), 1⁄2 to 1 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate which is alkalizing to a stressed out acidic body) and 10 drops lavender oil (helps lower cortisol levels).
Finish all eating 3 hours prior to going to sleep.
Avoid getting in bed after midnight as late-hour sleep is not as helpful as earlier sleep.
Avoid late afternoon or evening naps.
Avoid drinking more than 4-8 ounces of fluid before going to bed.
Try to achieve some action plan or resolution of a discussion or argument before trying to go to sleep.
Avoid repeated negative judgments about the fact that you are unable to sleep.
Use positive self-talk phrases regarding your ability to relax and fall asleep:“I can fall asleep.”“I can relax.”“Any amount of sleep I get is just fine.”
Try writing in your journal any disturbing thoughts that are running through your mind.
Avoid naps longer than 45 minutes unless you are sick or quite sleep deprived.
Avoid large meals or spicy foods before bed.
STRATEGIES TO USE WITH TROUBLE FALLING ASLEEP OR STAYING ASLEEP
n Consider reading a good neutral book under low light to help with falling asleep.
n Don’t stay in bed more than 20-30 minutes trying to fall asleep. Leave your bedroom and go to a relaxing
room other than the bedroom and read or do a relaxation technique (e.g., meditation).
n If you awaken early because of light, put a dark covering over your eyes.
n If you awaken early because of recurrent thoughts, try writing them in a journal. If this does not help, consider counseling. Depression might be a factor.
computers and monitors. Consider moving these devices or moving your bed or your position in the bed. Consider using a Tri Field or other meter to test for these fields.
n Avoid sleeping on a water bed or an electric mattress because of the excessive heat and the electric fields.
n Consider replacing your pillows with hypoallergenic pillows. Use ultrafine allergy pillow and mattress covers.
n Sleep on the highest quality bed linens you can afford.
n Consider 1⁄2 hour exposure to a blue or 10,000 lux bright light (first thing in the morning) if you are going to bed too late and want to shift to an earlier bedtime.
LIGHT, NOISE, TEMPERATURE, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
n Turn down the light in the bathroom and in rooms you are in 15 minutes before going to bed.
n Decrease the light in your bedroom by using a dimmer or a reading light with a dimmer.
n Use dark window shades or consider a set of eye shades or a black covering for your eyes when trying to sleep or if you awaken too early because of light.
n Decrease irritating noises in your space by closing windows, using
BEDDING AND PILLOWS
n Consider using a “side sleeper” pillow for under your neck when sleeping on your side
n Consider using a body pillow to hug and put between your knees to
SUPPLEMENTS AND LIGHT
n Consider taking bedtime natural support.
n Melatonin – 1-5 mg to fall asleep. and/or 5-20 mg time released melatonin to stay asleep
Magnesium/Calcium –250-500 mg is a typical dose OR magnesium citrate or glycinate 400-800 mg at bedtime.
n Establish an evening herbal tea habit, such as lemon balm and passion flower, to support relaxation and sleep onset.
Turn off or remove any appliances or clocks that make noise.
n Make sure your sleeping area is the correct temperature range (not too hot or too cold).