No. 5: Limit daytime naps
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep — especially if you're struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon.
If you work nights, you'll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight — which adjusts your internal clock — doesn't interrupt your daytime sleep.
No. 6: Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.
No. 7: Manage stress
When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace to your life, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Share a good laugh with an old friend. Before bed, jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
Know when to contact your doctor
Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.
Jul. 07, 2011
See more In-depth
- Bonnet MH, et al. Treatment of insomnia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- In brief: Your guide to healthy sleep. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Milner CE, et al. Benefits of napping in healthy adults: Impact of nap length, time of day, age, and experience with napping. Journal of Sleep Research. 2009;18:272.
- Dhand R, et al. Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 2006;12:379.
- Gooley JJ, et al. Exposure to room light before bedtime suppresses melatonin onset and shortens melatonin duration in humans. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011;96:E463.
- Suganuma N, et al. Using electronic media before sleep can curtail sleep time and result in self-perceived insufficient sleep. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. 2007;5:204.
- Insomnia and sleep deprivation: Health effects and treatment. In: Karren KJ, et al. Mind Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships. 4th ed. San Francisco, Calif.: Pearson Education, Inc.; 2010:181.
- Sleep hygiene. American Academy of Sleep medicine. http://www.sleepeducation.com/Hygiene.aspx. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Gellis LA, et al. Sleep hygiene practices of good and poor sleepers in the United States: An Internet-based study. Behavior Therapy. 2009;40:1.
- Rosenthal TC, et al. Fatigue: An overview. American Family Physician. 2008;78:1173.