Over at the Fitness StackExchange somebody asked the question “How can I make myself get enough sleep?”
The answers have some good takeaway points.
To do list for a good sleep
- Avoid energizers – drink and food containing caffeine, like coffee, cola (and other soda), black tee and cocoa, smoking and TV watching, brainteasers and similar that activates your brain
- Have a dark and slightly chilled bedroom – 16-18 C would likely be optimal
- Be neither hungry nor satiated when going to bed – When hungry or thirsty, have a piece of fruit/meat or a glass of milk or juice. Digestion after a large meal will interfere with your sleep
- Don’t drink alcohol – The sleep quality if you do fall asleep is significantly impaired; it is compared with artificial anesthesia, which is a “false sleep”
- Air out the bedroom beforehand
- Get out of bed at night when you can’t sleep instead of staring at the ceiling for hours. Walk a little around, have a glass of warm milk and go to bed again after 10 minutes.
- Don’t go to bed if you aren’t tired – even if you are getting up early.
- Dim the light, in the room where you are staying, for at least an hour before sleep
- Get up at the same time every day – including weekends and holidays! – Let it vary only +/- 1 hour and even if you fell asleep late. The body must get used to a fixed rythm in sleeping
- Be regular physically active during the daytime to add a natural sleepiness in the whole body.
- Do not sleep during the day, if you can’t sleep at night – Just a spiral making everything worse as you said yourself. A nap in the afternoon should last no longer than 20 min. if necessary
- Do not watch the clock when you wake up at night.
- Don’t bother while in bed- Avoid bringning any speculations and thoughts from your work or activities of the day with you into the bedroom. And don’t work or sit by the computer till late; always give yourself a few hours to cool down afterwards before sleep. You must let your mind rest in order to fully rest.
- Have a “concern hour” or “problemhour” every day in the afternoon after work- Use it to think through every concern and problem, write down what you must remember for tomorrow, so you can stop thinking about it, and convince yourself that it can wait. And then find a good book to end the day with instead of the TV.
- Have a hot bath before bedtime
- Always keep the same evening / nightly routines so the body knows what bedtime means.
- Use earplugs and a mask for the eyes
- Only use the bedroom for sleeping – not working or TV-watching
- Clean up – A messy bedroom stresses you, while order is calming
- Make sure you have a good bed – Good quality, right type of mattress fitting you, a good pillow and soft duvet
- Watch out with sleep medication – Long term use of sleeping pills etc. will eventually result in even worsened sleep
- Keep pen and paper by the bed – To write down thoughts and concerns causing nightly wake ups. Then convince yourself to let it wait till the morning
- Avoid bright light when you are up at night – Use a red light for your bed lamp
- Avoid intense physical activity before sleep – Exercise raises pulse and blood pressure, and the body produces stress hormones and glucose to provide energy. Adrenaline are eventually sent to every muscle to be ready for performing.
- Keep a sleep diary – try mapping everything that goes on to get an overview of what happened when you had a good and a bad sleep