Originally found on https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/insomnia

The glow of the alarm clock is all too familiar for many. Insomnia refers to an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, or a tendency to wake up too early or experience poor sleep.

Tips for a Good Night's Sleep:

Set a schedule

Go to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Disrupting this schedule may lead to insomnia. Sleeping in on weekends also makes it harder to wake up early on Monday morning because it resets your sleep cycle for a later awakening. If you can, avoid night shifts, alternating schedules, or other things that may disrupt your sleep schedule.

Physical activity

Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to get your exercise no later than five to six hours before going to bed. Sex can be a natural sleep inducer and helps some people.

Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol

Avoid caffeine for at least eight hours before bedtime. Sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, diet drugs and some pain relievers. Quit smoking: Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal. Avoid using alcohol in the evening. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and REM sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep. Don't eat heavy meals before bedtime.

Relax before bed

A warm bath, reading or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall asleep. You can train yourself to associate certain restful activities with sleep and make them part of your bedtime ritual.

Sleep until sunlight

If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock reset itself each day. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of morning sunlight for people having problems falling asleep.

Don't lie in bed awake

If you can't get to sleep, don't just lie in bed. Do something else, like reading, watching television, or listening to music until you feel tired. The anxiety of being unable to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia.

Control your bedroom environment

  • Avoid bright lighting while winding down.
  • Use comfortable bedding.
  • Limit noises and possible distractions, such as a TV, computer, or a pet.
  • Reserve the bed for sleep and sex.
  • Make sure the temperature of your bedroom is cool and comfortable.

See a doctor if your sleeping problem continues

If you have trouble falling asleep night after night, or if you always feel tired the next day, then you may have a sleep disorder and should see a physician. Your primary care physician may be able to help you; if not, you can find a sleep specialist at a major hospital near you. Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively.

Sleep research is expanding and attracting more attention. Researchers now know that sleep is an active and dynamic state that greatly influences our waking hours, and they realize that we must understand sleep to fully understand the brain. Innovative techniques, such as brain imaging, can now help researchers understand how different brain regions function during sleep and how different activities and disorders affect sleep. Understanding the factors that affect sleep in health and disease also may lead to revolutionary new therapies for sleep disorders and to ways of overcoming jet lag and the problems associated with shift work. We can expect these and many other benefits from the research will allow us to truly understand sleep's impact on our lives.

Written by PsychologyToday

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