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Tips for Sleeping Soundly

Below are some tips for helping you develop better and more restful sleep habits. 

  1. Avoid spicy, new or exotic foods and large meals in the late evening.
  2. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Alcohol initially acts as sedative but has the tendency to wake you up as the effects wear off.
  3. Avoid chocolate, coffee, tea, and any other drinks containing caffeine (e.g. some sodas).
  4. Long naps (>30 min) are not part of a normal day!!
  5. Seek out sunlight when you wake up, bright sunlight helps regulate the sleep wake cycle.
  6. Resist snacking at night, especially refined grain products (breads & sugars).
  7. Get at least twenty minutes of moderately intensive exercise, a minimum of 20 minutes at least, 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  8. Perform bedtime rituals (i.e. stretching, yoga).
  9. Eliminate non-sleep activities in bed to strengthen the association between your bed and sleeping.
  10. Avoid talking on the phone, watching TV, homework, surfing the web, etc. when in bed.
  11. If you can’t fall asleep in 15-20 min get up and engage in uncomplicated or relaxing activity in low-light conditions until you feel drowsy. Some examples would include: taking a bath, light reading, or eating a small snack if hungry.
  12. Avoid watching TV, doing work, or engaging in mentally challenging tasks directly before bedtime.
  13. Most of all don’t try to force sleep, even if you wake up in the middle of the night!
  14. Keep bedroom cool and use blankets to keep warm instead of heaters.
  15. Remove the TV from the room.
  16. Put black electrical tape over digital clocks and avoid looking at your phone if you wake up.
  17. Sleep with your phone on silent and away from you at night, electrical waves can keep you up at night!
  18. Keep your bedroom as dark, quiet and relaxing as possible.
  19. Use an eye shade or thick curtains to block out early morning sunlight, streetlights, and headlights.
  20. Use earplugs or white noise to block out noise.
  21. Avoid drinking any fluids within 2 hours of bedtime.
  22. To unwind, read a section of a book or magazine.
  23. Eat a high protein snack and a small piece of fruit several hours before bedtime.
  24. Take a hot bath, sauna, or shower before bedtime.
  25. Write in a daily journal at bedtime.
  26. Go to bed and get up according to a set, consistent schedule.
  27. Avoid napping during the day, with the exception of a 20 minute “power nap” – NO longer than 20 min, and no later than 3 p.m.
  28. If you can’t sleep, don’t get too upset; don’t fight, resist, or fear sleeplessness. Accept it, hold it, and let it go. Figure that the next day you will be somewhat tired but still able to do what you need to do.


Tips borrowed from JMU’s Revive The Sleep Deprived Campaign