The key to good health is good sleep.

There are simple and easy lifestyle changes you can make to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep:

Keep regular hours.

  • Have a regular wake up time each day, including weekends.
  • Don’t take naps. If you must nap, keep it short. Nap for 15 to 30 minutes early in the afternoon.

Don’t go to bed too full or too hungry.

  • If you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, your stomach has several hours of work to do. If you must eat late, eat light and avoid sugary, high-carbohydrate foods.
  • It can also be difficult to sleep if your stomach is empty. If you are dieting, have a low-calorie snack before bed. 

Exercise regularly, but not right before bedtime.

  • Intense exercise in the late evening can make it difficult for you to relax and fall asleep.
  • Schedule workouts for earlier in the day, and try gentle exercises like stretching or yoga to help you relax at night.

Create a bedtime routine.

  • Set up a routine so your body knows it’s time to go to sleep. For example, watch a TV show then read for 10 minutes. Brush your teeth and go to bed. 

Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.

  • Don’t eat, write, watch TV or talk on the phone while in bed.
  • Keep the bedroom dark, quiet and a little cool to help you sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. If you don’t fall asleep after 15 to 20 minutes, get up and go to another room and do something to relax. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed.

Slow down toward the end of the day.

  • Don’t do work or household chores right before bedtime. 
  • Stop doing tasks at least an hour before bedtime. Do quiet activities that will help you relax. 
  • Turn off all electronic devices with screens (cell phones, computer) an hour before bedtime. The light from these devices can affect your sleep.

Limit tobacco and caffeine.

  • Don’t have any caffeine or use tobacco eight hours before bed.

Don’t drink alcohol after dinner.

  • Drinking in the late evening may help you go to sleep. But when the alcohol wears off, you may become restless and wake up early.

Keep a notepad next to your bed.

  • Write down whatever pops into your mind when you are trying to sleep. You can take care of those things tomorrow.
If you’re unable to sleep at night after trying these tips, talk to the experts at Ohio State’s Sleep Disorders Center about treatment options that are best for you.

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