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(p. 145) Guidelines for Better Sleep 

(p. 145) Guidelines for Better Sleep
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date: 24 February 2021

  • Go to sleep as soon as you feel tired. Sleep cycles cause people to feel tired approximately every 90 minutes. If you ignore the cues that your body is getting tired, you may have to wait for another 90 minutes.

  • Set an alarm to wake you at the same time each morning, even on weekends and holidays. This helps your body to get into a regular sleep–wake routine.

  • Use the bed only for sleeping and for sex. Reading, thinking, watching TV and eating in bed can lead people to associate the bed with activity and stress.

  • Get out of bed when you can’t sleep after trying for 30 minutes, and go back to bed as soon as you feel tired. Do something enjoyable when you get up (e.g., reading a book). Make sure that it is a quiet and relaxing activity, not one that will stimulate your brain too much.

  • Do not watch the clock if you are lying awake. Doing so results in worrying that you are not sleeping, which keeps your mind active and prevents you from actually getting to sleep.

  • Write your problems on a piece of paper before going to bed, then throw the paper out or put it aside to tackle in the morning. Say to yourself: “There is nothing I can do about this tonight.”

  • Avoid consuming caffeine after mid-afternoon. This includes teas, coffee, sodas, chocolate, etc.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs. Although alcohol and some types of drugs can induce sleep, it results in rebound insomnia several hours later and interferes with the restorative quality of sleep. Thus, you may sleep or not remember dreams, but still wake up feeling exhausted.

  • Practice the breathing retraining exercise before going to bed. This helps to calm your body and mind and promotes entry into sleep.

  • Exercise early in the day. The best time to exercise is first thing in the morning. Avoid exercising later in the evening when it is close to bedtime.

  • Sleep with a minimum of coverings so that you do not overheat. Turn off heaters, electric blankets, or keep a window open. Overheating causes restlessness and a lack of deep sleep.