Preparing for a Good Night's Sleep

Most adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping normally, try improving your sleep hygiene, or sleep habits:

  • Check the environment for things that may be disrupting you sleep. For example, if there’s:
    • Too much light—put light-blocking shades of drapes over windows
    • Too much noise—wear earplugs, or mask noise with the hum of a fan
    • Try to keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
  • Use your bed and bedroom for sleep—sex is okay, too, but not reading, watching TV, using electronic device or other activities.
  • Follow a regular schedule for sleeping and waking, even on weekends
  • Limit naps to no more than an hour—and no later than midafternoon
  • Exercise in late afternoon to unwind. Don’t exercise just before bed. It can wind you up again. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program.
  • Watch what you eat—a big or late evening meal may make you drowsy, but your digestive system may keep you awake later. But, an empty stomach may also make you toss and turn.
  • Watch what you drink as well
    • Avoid caffeine for 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. It is also found in some soft drinks, energy drinks, bottled waters, over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs.
    • Avoid alcohol before bed. It may put you to sleep, but you map sleep poorly later in the night.
    • Drink some warm milk. It may help sleep.
  • Don’t smoke—nicotine in tobacco may keep you awake
  • Set worries aside—write down your concerns, or list the things you have to do tomorrow. Decide when you will address any worries—then put them out of your mind.
  • Take a warm bath to relax
  • Listen to quite music, or read under soft light.
  • Try relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or progressive relaxation (tensing and then releasing one group of muscles at a time, starting at the feet and working up).

If these simple measure fail, see you your primary care provider. You may have a sleep disorder.

Contact Us

Torrance Memorial Sleep Disorders Center