Getting Your Sleep Patterns Back on Track Make an Appointment 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. Maintain a regular time for going to bed and waking up. This includes weekends and vacations. The bedroom is for sleeping and intimacy. 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. Keep the bedroom cool and comfortable. Many people feel they fall asleep quickly while watching television, the bright lights may disrupt sleep. Get outside during the day. Getting adequate exposure to light during the day can help you sleep at night. Avoid heavy meals, and stimulants before bed. Eat a balanced diet with regular mealtimes and avoid heavy meals at bedtime. Alcohol can interfere with sleep and should be avoided within three to four hours of bedtime. It can lead to repeated awakenings during the latter part of the night. Caffeine and nicotine can interfere with sleep. They are best not consumed close to bedtime. Avoid drinks with caffeine after 2 p.m. Address stress. Ongoing worries can lead to insomnia. Take a few moments each day to write down your concerns and 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. Avoid electronic screens that emit blue light because it suppresses melatonin. Other sources of light such as hallway fixtures or street lamps may have a similar effect. The level of acceptable bedroom light is different for each individual. 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 Sheila Tsai, MD (March 2021).