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Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

Learn the strategies and habits that may help you get the sleep you need.

Don’t think the amount or the quality of your sleep matters? Think again. Ongoing poor sleep can raise your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. And it can contribute to being overweight or obese. Here are some ways you can shape up your sleep habits:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Limit caffeine if you’re sensitive. Read labels carefully. Limit food or drink with caffeine after late afternoon. Some medicines contain caffeine, too.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant that may keep you awake and cause lighter sleep overall.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed, if you choose to drink at all. Small amounts of alcohol may be relaxing and help you fall asleep, but it actually interferes with staying asleep.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise is essential for good health and may help you sleep better.*
  • Avoid naps late in the day. If you really need to catch a few winks, do it early in the afternoon, and don't sleep for more than 20 minutes.
  • Block out light. Keep your sleeping space as dark as possible, and avoid light from TV and digital devices.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping or you feel abnormally sleepy during the day, talk with your doctor. Most sleep disorders can be successfully treated.

* If you’re pregnant, have been physically inactive or have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your activity level. He or she can tell you what types and amounts of activities are safe.

By Kristin Nelson, Contributing Writer

Sources
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Sleep deprivation and deficiency Accessed January 24, 2019.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep hygiene tips. Accessed January 24, 2019.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Strategies for getting enough sleep. Accessed January 24, 2019.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain basics: Understanding sleep. Accessed January 24, 2019.

Last Updated: March 27, 2019