UNC Health Talk

Conquering Sleep Problems

If you’ve been accused of getting up ‘on the wrong side of the bed,’ is it because you didn’t get much sleep on any side on the bed? Some simple changes in your daily habits may be effective in helping you rest easier.

Exercise early. Activity too close to bedtime can wind you up and make it difficult to relax. Try to exercise in the morning or early evening-regular exercise at these times may even help you sleep better.

Watch what you eat and drink. Eating a large meal or drinking caffeinated beverages before bed can keep you up, and alcohol, even if it initially makes you feel sleepy, may make it difficult to stay asleep.

Help your mind stop racing. Have too much to think about when your head hits the pillow? Make time earlier in the evening to write down worries and possible solutions or make a to-do list for the next day.

Stick to a sleep schedule. If possible, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day-even on the weekends. This can help your body set its biological clock for regular sleep.

Make your bedroom comfortable. Many people sleep best in a room that is cool, dark and quiet. A comfy bed is also important. A fan or white noise machine can help block out distracting noises or help lull you to sleep.

Focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths-you may even want to count them. Relax the muscles in your body-slowly working your way up from your toes to your head.