How to Get Better Sleep

To start, try some basic changes that can help you sleep better.  These are often called “sleep hygiene techniques.”
1. Use your bedroom only for sleep (and sex).  This is so your mind associates your bedroom with sleep, rather than work, TV, reading, etc.
2. Develop a “getting-ready-for-sleep” routine.  Again, this helps your mind and body know you’re getting ready for sleep.  Do relaxing, calming activities the hour or 2 before bed.  Then brush your teeth, wash your face, and turn off the lights.  Even doing activities in the same order every night can help.
3. Go to bed only when you’re sleepy.  It’s more likely you’ll be able to fall asleep, and you’ll avoid tossing and turning in bed because you’re not sleepy.  But remember, you have to spend the hour or 2 before your bedtime slowing down your body and mind, so you naturally become sleepy.  It’s unlikely you’ll begin to feel sleepy if you’re engrossed in a book, doing an online search, etc.
4. If you can’t fall asleep, get out of bed.  The average time it takes to fall asleep is 5 to 30 minutes.  To keep your bedroom associated with sleep, you don’t want to lie in bed unable to sleep (which can also make you start worrying about when you’re going to fall asleep).  So if you’re unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes or so, get out of bed and do a quiet activity – perhaps a relaxation exercise or quiet reading – and then return to bed when you begin to get sleepy.  You may then fall asleep, but if not, get out of bed again, and do this as many times as you’re unable to fall asleep.  Again, the first few nights you do this, you may not sleep very much at all, but keep at it.  You’re working on establishing good sleep habits!  And the next night, you’ll be more likely to fall asleep sooner. Read more...

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