Plan your sleep by putting it into your schedule; plan for 8½ to 9 hours in bed.
As much as possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This will help train your biological clock.
Avoid getting in bed after midnight as late-hour sleep is not as helpful as earlier sleep.
Avoid late afternoon or evening naps.
Avoid naps longer than 45 minutes unless you are sick or quite sleep deprived.
Avoid large meals or spicy foods before bed.
Finish all eating 3 hours prior to going to sleep.
Avoid drinking more than 4-8 ounces of fluid before going to bed.
Take a hot salt/soda aromatherapy bath—raising your body temperature before sleep helps induce sleep. A hot bath also relaxes muscles and reduces tension. Add 1-2 cups Epson salts (magnesium sulfate absorbed through the skin is very relaxing), ½ 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).
Avoid and Minimise Nighttime Tension and Anxiety
Avoid anxiety-provoking activities close to bedtime.
Avoid watching the news before going to bed.
Avoid reading stimulating, exciting materials in bed.
Avoid paying bills before bed.
Avoid checking your financial reports or the stock market before bedtime.
Avoid arguments before bedtime.
Schedule difficult conversations well before bedtime—preferably at least 3 hours before.
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
Try writing in your journal any disturbing thoughts that are running through your mind.
Schedule a time within the next few days to deal with whatever is troubling you. If you are having trouble managing your concerns for more than a few weeks, consult your healthcare provider for treatment suggestions or a counseling/therapy referral.
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.
Avoid or Minimize Stimulants
Avoid alcohol (wine, beer, and hard liquor) within 3 hours of bedtime.
Avoid caffeine-containing beverages or foods after 2 pm; if sensitive to caffeine, avoid it after 12 noon. These items include Pepsi, Coke,
Mountain Dew; tea, coffee, lattes, and chocolate; coffee- or espresso containing ice creams or desserts). Read the labels of everything you eat and drink!
Avoid Sudafed or other decongestant cold medicines at night.
Some medications may have stimulating effects. Consult your pharmacist and doctor to determine whether any of them might be contributing to sleep problems. Do not discontinue them without permission from your doctor.
Complete any aerobic exercise before 6 pm (or at least 3 hours before bed time).
Trouble Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep
Consider reading a good neutral / boring book under low light to help with falling asleep.
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). Do NOT turn on any electronics and televisions.
If you awaken early because of light, put a dark covering over your eyes.
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.
Fix Light and Noise Issues
Turn down the light in the bathroom and in rooms you are in 15 minutes before going to bed.
Decrease the light in your bedroom by using a dimmer or a reading light with a dimmer.
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.
Consider ½ 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.
Decrease irritating noises in your space by closing windows, using ear plugs, or using a white noise generator or a HEPA air filter.
Turn off or remove any appliances or clocks that make noise.
Fix Temperature and Environmental Issues
Make sure your sleeping area is the correct temperature range (not too hot or too cold).
Avoid sleeping near electric fields. Try to have your head at least 5 feet away from electric fields, if possible. Possible sources of electrical fields include: electrical outlets, clock radios, stereos, cell phones, 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.
Avoid sleeping on a water bed or an electric mattress because of the excessive heat and the electric fields.
Bedding and Pillows
Consider replacing your pillows with hypoallergenic pillows. Use ultrafine allergy pillow and mattress covers.
Consider using a “side sleeper” pillow for under your neck when sleeping on your side
Consider using a body pillow to hug and put between your knees to align your back and shoulders at night.
Roll backwards at a slight angle onto a body pillow if you have hip bursitis.
Sleep on the highest quality bed and linens you can afford.
Consider taking bedtime natural support.
Melatonin – 1-5 mg to fall asleep and/or 5-20 mg time released melatonin to stay asleep
5-HTP – 50-300 mg 1 hour before bedtime
Taurine – 500-2000 mg 1 hour before bedtime
Magnesium/Calcium – 250-500 mg is a typical dose OR magnesium citrate or glycinate 400-800 mg at bedtime.
Establish an evening herbal tea habit, such as lemon balm and passion flower, to support relaxation and sleep onset.
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