Good Sleep Habits

The American Sleep Disorders Association has established the following guidelines for a good night’s sleep:

  • Get up about the same time every day.
  • Go to bed only when sleepy.
  • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack, or 10 minutes of reading.
  • Exercise regularly. Confine vigorous exercise to early hours, at least six hours before bedtime. Do mild exercise, such as simple stretching or walking, at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Keep a regular schedule. Regular times for meals, medications, chores, and other activities help keep the inner clock running smoothly.
  • Avoid ingestion of caffeine within six hours of bedtime. Don’t drink alcohol, especially when sleepy. Even a small close of alcohol can have a potent effect when tired.
  • Avoid smoking close to bedtime.
  • Try to nap at the same time every day; mid-afternoon is the best time for most people.
  • Avoid sleeping pills, or use them conservatively. Most doctors avoid prescribing sleeping pills for periods longer than three weeks. Do not drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills.

Common Questions

Q: Snoring completely normal, right?

A: Wrong. Snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnea, a serious disorder that causes 10- to 100-second pauses in breathing during sleep. Episodes can occur several times a night and often cause loud snoring, choking, and gasping as sufferers struggle to breathe again.

Q: I’m sleepy all the time. Why?

A: You might have narcolepsy. People with this disorder have difficulty remaining alert and awake during daily activities. These irresistible urges to sleep are likely to first appear in your teens and early twenties.

Q: What causes insomnia?

A:Different things for different people. Insomnia, a chronic inability to fall or stay asleep, can start with a stressful or emotional situation but can persist even after that situation is resolved. A variety of medical ailments can also lead to disrupted sleep and insomnia.