Your Sleep Checklist

Getting a good night's rest is good for your body and your mind. Use these tips to wake up 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.
  • Stop working on any task an hour before bedtime, and avoid talking about stressful or emotional issues in bed.
  • Make your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable. Use earplugs or a sleep mask if you need to.
  • Skip caffeinated beverages within 6 to 8 hours of bedtime.
  • Don't smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant, which can keep you up.
  • 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.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Stop drinking alcohol 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.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on October 18, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

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.

Drake, C. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Nov. 15, 2013.

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

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

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.