Lawrence E. Kincade, Ph.D., LCSW > Tips To Help You Sleep Better


  1. Retire and rise on a timeline that deviates by no more than two hours every day, even on weekends.
  2. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which suppress deep sleep, within three to six hours, and heavy meals within three hours, of bedtime.
  3. Use your bed for resting or sleeping, not for office work, watching television, or playing video games (unless it helps you to doze off).
  4. Exercise moderately for 30 minutes per day, but no later than three hours before lights out.
  5. Sip warm milk or herb tea before bed to raise body temperature and assist in inducing sleep.
  6. Snack on bananas, turkey, peanut butter or other tryptophan-rich foods to enlist the aid of this naturally calming compound.
  7. Nap no later than mid-afternoon to avoid sleep interference.
  8. Put work aside two to three hours before sleeping.
  9. Write out a "worry list" or "to do list" before bed to help your mind disengage.
  10. Make the bedroom into a sanctuary or retreat.  Try scented candles, or bring the freshness of the outdoors inside with air-dried sheets and sunned pillows and comforters.  Linen sprays scented with soothing lavender or rose offer another option.
  11. Pamper yourself with massage, meditation, soothing music, positive imagery (Dr. Kincade can assist you with learning to implement this technique), a warm bath, etc. to help the brain "unwind."
  12. Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool.
  13. Try wearing socks to bed.  Warm extremities ease the "slide into sleep."
  14. If sleeps does not occur within twenty minutes, get out of bed and read or engage in some project.
  15. Consult with a physician before taking melatonin, which may produce insomnia if given at the wrong time, or other sleep aides, which may prove ineffective, unhealthy or habit-forming.
  16. Dim lights two to three hours before bedtime and get outside for five to thirty minutes after you awaken, to help set your brain's internal clock to your sleep-wake schedule.