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    • I went to sleep and woke up at about the same time every day this week.

      Waking up and going to bed at the same time helps your body get into a routine, usually making it easier to fall asleep at night.

    • I tried to stick to a relaxing bedtime routine most nights this month.

      Doing the same soothing things every night before you go to bed signals your body and mind that it's time to switch gears from daytime to sleep.

    • I made my bedroom dark, quiet, and comfortable.

      Make your bedroom ideal for sleep by keeping it dark -- with curtains, blinds, or a sleep mask -- and quiet. Set the temperature not too cool or hot.

    • I didn't drink caffeine before bed any night this week.

      Caffeine, found in some soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate, acts as a stimulant and can keep you up at night. It can affect some people for a few hours, but some can stay alert for 10 or 12.

    • I didn't eat a big meal close to bedtime any night this week.

      Eating a lot of food can make you uncomfortable, making it hard to fall asleep. Spicy food may cause heartburn, which can really make your nighttime restless.

    • I exercised almost every day this month, but not close to bedtime.

      Exercise is good for your overall health and can contribute to a good night's sleep. But working out too close to bedtime can raise your body temperature and make it harder to sleep.

    • When I couldn't sleep, I got up and read a book.

      If you can't sleep after 15-20 minutes, get up and read by dim light. Don't watch TV -- the light can stimulate you. When you're sleepy, go back to bed.

    • I started a sleep diary this month.

      Keep track of when you were asleep and awake -- as well as your daily caffeine/alcohol, exercise, dinner, medications, and stress. Look for any habits or patterns.

    • I took the computer and TV out of my bedroom.

      Computers, TVs, and other electronics are potential distractions, tempting you when you should be asleep. Keeping them out makes it clear your bedroom is primarily for sleep.

    • I tried to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night this week.

      Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Too little sleep is linked to increased risk of health issues like diabetes, heart problems, obesity, and depression.

    • I didn't take a nap today.

      A short nap may be OK if you're really dragging, but anything more than an hour or late in the day can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.

    • I didn't drink alcohol last night.

      Alcohol might give you short-term sleepiness, but it can leave you with insomnia in the middle of the night.

    • I moved my pet out of my bed.

      When pets are restless at night, you can be, too. A dog or cat snoring, scratching, or hogging the bed can mean bad sleep for you.

    • I wore sunscreen and spent some time in the sunlight today.

      Being in the sunlight -- especially in the morning -- helps your body's sleep/wake cycle. Your body knows it's supposed to be awake when it's light so it's ready to sleep when it's dark.

    • I brought up any sleep worries at my last checkup.

      If you don't sleep well, things like snoring, sleep apnea, or medications could be to blame. Your doctor will determine if you need to see a sleep specialist.

    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on May 10, 2012



    American Academy of Sleep Medicine: "Two Week Sleep Diary."

    Medscape Education: "Consequences of Nighttime Heartburn: QoL and Sleep Disturbances: Nighttime Heartburn and Sleep Disturbances -- Issues in Prevalence and Quality of Life."

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Your Guide to Healthy Sleep."

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep."

    National Sleep Foundation: "Diet, Exercise and Sleep," "Healthy Sleep Tips," "How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?" "Let Sleep Work for You."

    Psychology Today: "Get Fido His Own Bed."

    Roehrs, T. Sleep Medicine Review, 2007.

    ScienceDaily: "Dog Tired? It Could Be Your Pooch."

    The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: "Insomnia: Restoring Restful Sleep."

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information:

    THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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