Lawrence E. Kincade, Ph.D., LCSW >
Tips To Help You Sleep Better
- Retire and rise on a timeline that deviates by no more than two hours every day, even on weekends.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which suppress deep sleep, within three to six hours, and heavy meals within three hours, of bedtime.
- Use your bed for resting or sleeping, not for office work, watching television, or playing video games (unless it helps you to doze off).
- Exercise moderately for 30 minutes per day, but no later than three hours before lights out.
- Sip warm milk or herb tea before bed to raise body temperature and assist in inducing sleep.
- Snack on bananas, turkey, peanut butter or other tryptophan-rich foods to enlist the aid of this naturally calming compound.
- Nap no later than mid-afternoon to avoid sleep interference.
- Put work aside two to three hours before sleeping.
- Write out a "worry list" or "to do list" before bed to help your mind disengage.
- 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.
- 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."
- Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool.
- Try wearing socks to bed. Warm extremities ease the "slide into sleep."
- If sleeps does not occur within twenty minutes, get out of bed and read or engage in some project.
- 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.
- 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.