Getting Your Sleep Patterns Back on Track
Research shows that some 70 million people at one time or another will suffer from sleep problems. Daylight Saving Time can often cause difficulties with individual sleep patterns. These prolonged disruptions can lead to serious health issues if not addressed. Try these tips for getting your sleep patterns back on track.
- The bedroom is for sleeping. It may seem simple, but many people use the bedroom to watch TV or read in bed as well as sleeping. If you're having problems sleeping don't read or watch TV in bed and see if that helps you fall asleep.
- Get outside during the day. Getting adequate exposure to light during the day can help you sleep at night.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol can interfere with sleep and should be avoided within 3-4 hours of bedtime. It can lead to repeated awakenings during the latter part of the night.
- Address stress. Ongoing worries can lead to insomnia. Take a few moments each day to write down your concerns and write down your activities for the next day. This will help you "put an end" to the day and clear your mind.
- Eliminate light and noise. Light and noise may disrupt sleep for many people. If bright light or noise can't be avoided, earplugs and eye masks may be helpful.
- Clock watchers. Most people do this at one time or another, but if you find yourself obsessing over seconds and minutes ticking away while trying to fall asleep, just remove the clock from the bedroom.
- Don't just lay there. If you're still awake after 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something soothing (reading, soft music, deep breathing) in soft lighting.
This information has been approved by Mark Aloia, PhD (March 2010).