Help yourself to better sleep with these tips

Dreaming about a good night's sleep? Make it a reality with these tips. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Children fight it. Adults can't seem to get enough. What is it? Sleep. If you're struggling to get a good night's sleep, it may be time to tune up your bedtime — and daytime — routines. Try these self-help tips.

Bedtime

  • Find ways to relax. A warm bath before bedtime can help prepare you for sleep. Having your partner give you a massage also may help relax you. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as reading, soft music, breathing exercises, yoga or prayer.
  • Make the bed comfortable. Having a comfortable pillow and mattress can help promote a good night's sleep. In general, latex, contour foam and polyester pillows perform better than feather or regular foam pillows, but the choice comes down to your personal preference. Similarly, the choice of a firm or soft mattress is largely a matter of individual preference. You may need to experiment to find what works for you.
  • Create a sleep-friendly space. Close your bedroom door or create a subtle background noise, such as a running fan, to help drown out other noises. Keep your bedroom temperature comfortable, usually cooler than during the day and dark. Don't keep a computer or TV in your bedroom.
  • Hide the clocks. Set your alarm so that you know when to get up, but then hide all clocks in your bedroom, including your wristwatch and cellphone. You'll sleep better if the clocks are out of view.
  • Get out of bed if you're not sleeping. Sleep as much as needed to feel rested, and then get out of bed. The bedroom should be used for sleep and intimacy. So, if you can't sleep, get out of bed after 20 minutes and do something relaxing, such as reading, rather than lying in bed and getting frustrated about your wakefulness.
Sep. 28, 2013 See more In-depth