Sleep Problems, Age 12 and Older - Prevention

Many sleep problems can be prevented. Avoid activities that might keep you from a good night's sleep.

  • Use your bed only for sleeping. Do not read, watch television, or do paperwork in bed. Reserve the bedroom for sleeping and sexual activities so that you come to connect it with sleep.
  • Do not take naps during the day, especially in the evening.
  • Do not drink or eat caffeine after 3:00 p.m. This includes coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate.
  • Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime.
  • Exercise during the day. Avoid strenuous exercise within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Nicotine can disrupt sleep and reduce total sleep time. Smokers report more daytime sleepiness and minor accidents than do nonsmokers, especially in younger age groups. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. It may make you sleepy but also will probably wake you up after a short time.
  • Do not engage in stimulating activities at bedtime. Substitute reading or listening to relaxing music for watching television.

You may be able to prevent sleep problems caused by jet lag by staying hydrated with water and avoiding caffeine, such as coffee.

Children also need plenty of sleep to grow and develop. It's important to help your child and yourself to sleep well with a good bedtime routine.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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