- Avoid or limit caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Don't use them at all late in the day or in the evening.
- Check all of your medicines with your doctor to see if they could be affecting your sleep. To help avoid sleep problems, you may be able to adjust your dose or change the time of day you take your medicine.
- Use the evening hours for settling down. Avoid watching TV and using the computer or phone if they keep you from getting to sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine that you do each night to help teach your body and mind that it is time to wind down. For example, before bed, take a warm shower, listen to soothing music, or have a cup of herbal tea.
- Make exercise a regular part of your life, but don't do it within 3 or 4 hours of bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Try using a sleep mask and earplugs to help you sleep.
- If you can't fall asleep (or fall back to sleep) after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet task. This will help you to not link being in bed with not being able to sleep.
- If you are overweight, set goals to manage your weight. Being overweight can be linked with sleep problems.
For more tips on how to improve your sleep, see:Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep.Shift Work Sleep Disorder. Sleep: Helping Your Children-and Yourself-Sleep Well. Sleep Problems: Dealing With Jet Lag.
Sleep tips for older adults
Older adults, especially those living in nursing homes or who are cared for by others, often have ongoing sleep problems. It's natural for your sleep patterns to change as you get older, but it doesn't mean that you need less sleep or that the sleep you do get is enough.
There are things you can do to cope with changing sleep patterns as you get older, such as having familiar evening and nighttime routines.
Treatment if sleep problems don't get better
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your sleep problem gets worse, if it lasts for more than 2 weeks, or if your symptoms become more severe or happen more often.