10 tips for better sleep

You may not be able to control or eliminate all of the factors that interfere with sleep, but you can create an environment and adopt habits that encourage a more restful night.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends

Sticking to a schedule helps reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle and help you sleep better.

Don’t eat or drink large amounts before bedtime

Eat a light dinner about two hours before sleeping. If you are prone to heartburn, avoid spicy or fatty foods, which can make heartburn flare and prevent restful sleep. Also, limit liquids before bed, this can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night to use the bathroom.

Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol in the evening

All these are stimulants that can keep you awake. Although often believed to be a sedative, alcohol disrupts sleep.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. Don’t exercise within three hours of bedtime, this may stimulate your body and mind.


Make your bedroom a cool, dark, quiet and comfortable space. Use blackout curtains, eye covers, extra blankets or a fan, whatever will create a comfortable sleeping space for you. Remove television from the bedroom, watching television will stimulate you, if you fall asleep with TV on the sound will wake you latter.

Sleep primarily at night

Daytime naps may steal hours from nighttime sleep. Limit daytime sleep to about 30 minutes and take your nap mid-afternoon. If you work nights, use black out shades so that sunlight, which adjusts the body’s internal clock, doesn’t interrupt your sleep.

If you work during the day, sleep at night and have a hard time waking up, leave the shades open and let sunlight help wake you up.

Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow

Features of a good bed are subjective and differ for each person. Make sure you have a bed that’s comfortable for you. If you have a bed partner, make sure there’s enough room for two. Children and pets are often disruptive; you may need to set limits on how often they sleep in bed with you.

Start a relaxing bedtime routine

Try and do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to settle down. This may include taking a warn bath or shower, reading a book or listening to soothing music. Activities done with lowered lights can help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleep.

Go to bed when you’re tired and turn out the lights

If you don’t fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get up, do something quiet and relaxing. Go back to bed when you are tired. Don’t agonize over falling to sleep; the stress will only prevent sleep.

Use sleeping pills only as a last resort

Check with your health care provider before taking any sleep medications.

If you’re having problems sleeping more than three times a week for a month, see your health care provider and ask for a referral to Salem Health’s Sleep Center to be evaluated for a sleep disorder.

You will be seen by a physician Sleep Medicine Specialist who will identify possible sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.

Sleep testing is performed in our state of the art sleep laboratory by experienced, licensed sleep technologists.

Identifying and treating the cause of your sleep disturbance can help get you back on the road to a good night’s sleep and improved health.

Sleep Center