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Your Sleep Checklist

Getting a good night's rest is good for your body and your mind. Use this checklist to wake up in the morning refreshed:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine to get your body and mind ready to sleep.
  • Make your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable.
  • Skip caffeinated beverages within 6 to 8 hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid eating big meals close to bedtime -- especially spicy foods, which may cause heartburn.
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes each day, but try to do it at least 6 hours before bedtime.
  • Can't sleep? Read or listen to soft music. Skip the TV, tablet, and smartphone.
  • Start a sleep diary to track what affects your rest.
  • Move the computer and TV out of your bedroom so they don't distract you. Don't just swap in your tablet or phone -- their lights and distractions can keep you up late.
  • Make it a priority to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
  • If you nap, keep it short (20-30 minutes) and not close to bedtime. Late-day naps can lead to sleepless nights.
  • Finish that glass of wine at least 3 hours before bed so it doesn't wake you up later.
  • Consider moving your pet out of your bed, and maybe out of your bedroom.
  • Wear sunscreen and spend time in the sunlight. But avoid bright lights close to bedtime.
  • If you still can't sleep well after doing all of these things, talk to your doctor about your next steps.

Recommended Related to Sleep Disorders

When Nightmares Won't Go Away

Yael Levy recalls having chronic nightmares as far back as elementary school, when she was living in Israel. The grandchild of Holocaust survivors, she says her dreams were filled with images of suffering and death. In one recurrent nightmare, Levy was trapped in a concentration camp, facing death. In another, she was drowning in deep water. At their worst, the nightmares occurred on an almost weekly basis, leaving her jittery and desperately fatigued. "I would wake up so terrified that I was afraid...

Read the When Nightmares Won't Go Away article > >

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on October 22, 2014

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