Preventing Sleep Problems

In some cases, sleep problems are related to preventable health conditions, such as obesity. Addressing such conditions may help prevent sleep problems. For example, experts think that weight loss may help overweight people who have obstructive sleep apnea.

Other times, changing something about your lifestyle may prevent a sleep disorder from developing. Some sleep problems can be avoided by practicing good sleep habits, called sleep hygiene.

Set Yourself Up

Don't take naps during the day, if you can help it. The extra rest may make you less sleepy at night.

Get regular exercise, though some experts suggest allowing at least 3-4 hours before you try to sleep. A gentle practice, like restorative yoga, may be better before bedtime.

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, which help keep your body alert. Alcohol can interfere with sleep quality and leave you waking in the night. Avoid these, especially late in the day. And don't eat a late, heavy meal either.

Follow a routine to help you relax and wind down before sleep, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath. Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.

In Your Bedroom

Make the room comfortable and inviting for sleep. It should be dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold (cooler is better than warmer). If you can't shut out or block light, try a sleeping mask. Use earplugs, a fan, or a "white noise" machine to cover up bothersome sounds.

Looking at screens that give off light before bed, such as phones or reading devices ("e-books"), can make it harder to fall asleep.

Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.

Can't Sleep?

If you're lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list or journaling. This may help you to put those nagging thoughts away overnight.

When you don't feel drowsy or can't fall asleep, get up and out of bed. Read or do something that's quiet and restful until you feel sleepy.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on May 12, 2019



National Sleep Foundation.


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