Home > Program & Service Information > Foothills Medical Centre Sleep Centre > Suggestions for Better Sleep
Suggestions for Better Sleep
If getting a better night’s sleep is your goal, and underlying medical conditions are not an impediment, try following some of these suggestions for improving sleep hygiene.
- Schedule a relaxing period before going to sleep, in order to disengage from the day’s activities. Have a hot bath, do some light exercise to slightly raise your body temperature.
- Use your bedroom primarily for sleep and sex.
- Your bed should be comfortable, large enough, in a quiet, dark room and at the right temperature.
- Keep a regular schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Do not go to bed until you feel sleepy.
- Be consistent about taking naps. Take one regularly or not at all. If you are using sleep restriction to help consolidate your sleep (fewer awakenings) then do not nap.
- Exercise regularly in the morning or early afternoon, but do not engage in strenuous activity late in the evening. A relaxing, mild physical activity might be helpful close to bedtime.
- Assess your caffeine intake, and avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. Either stop smoking or do not smoke after 7 PM.
- Don’t use alcohol or street drugs as sedatives. They might help you fall asleep, but lead to sleep disruption and deprive you of deep sleep, at times for years after stopping heavy use.
- Eat regular meals and a healthy balanced diet. If you feel hungry in the evening, have a light snack or a glass of milk. Heavy meals close to bedtime can result in discomfort and sleep disturbance. Take Calcium 500 mg and Magnesium 250 mg with a light snack to aid in relaxation (mild muscle relaxant). Always check with your doctor before taking a supplement.
- Above all, don’t try too hard. If you can’t fall asleep, don’t lie in bed anxious and frustrated. If it has been 20 to 30 minutes, leave your bedroom to read, watch TV, or do something else to relax, going back to bed only when you feel sleepy again. If you are a clock-watcher, turn the clock around.
- Do meditation, yoga or self-hypnosis to help with stress and sleep.
- Remember that sleep patterns change as we get older.
- Be patient. There is “no quick fix” and “no magic pill”.