Sleep Guidelines


Suggestions for Better Sleep (Sleep Hygiene)

Below are many things that you can do or consider to help you sleep better. Your health care provider might point out specific actions for you to take that are most important for you after they have done a sleep assessment.

Stimulants and Recommended Supplements

1. Avoid or minimize things that could be too stimulating

2. Avoid alcohol within a few hours of your bedtime as it will cause you to wake up and also block (REM) sleep

3. Avoid caffeine-containing beverages or foods after 2pm and if you are sensitive to caffeine avoid it after 12 noon

4. Avoid: caffeine containing sodas or waters including Pepsi, Coke and Mountain Dew

Avoid: tea, coffee, lattés, chocolate, coffee or espresso containing ice creams

5. Avoid Sudafed or other decongestant cold medicines at night

6. Some medications may have stimulating effects. Consult your pharmacist and doctor to determine if any of them might be contributing to sleep problems. Do not discontinue them without permission from your doctor.

These medications include, but are not limited to:

Certain asthma inhalers

Certain cardiac medications such as beta-blockers or antiarrhythmics

Certain antidepressants and antiseizure medications

7. Try to complete aerobic exercise before 6 pm or at least 3 hours before bedtime

8. Magnesium Glycinate 400-1000 mg before bed will have a natural soothing effect on your body. Melatonin 4-6 mg. acts like a brain antioxidant that helps to restore the quality of sleep. GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) an important neurotransmitter synthesized in the brain to form glutamate which regulates muscle tone by inhibiting overexcited neurotransmitters. 750 mg to 2 g 2-3 hrs before bed can allow your body to experience a relaxed state of tranquility.

Nighttime Tension and Anxiety

Avoid anxiety-provoking activities before going to bed such as:

9. Reading or watching the news before going to bed  paying bills before bed

10. Checking your financial reports or the stock market

11. Avoid arguments before bedtime. Schedule difficult conversations well before bedtime and preferable at least 3 hours before attempting to sleep

12. Try to achieve some action plan or resolution of a discussion or an argument before trying to go to sleep

Sleep Planning and Bedroom Preparation

13. Plan your sleep by putting it into your schedule or knowing you are planning on 8 ½ to 9 hours in your   bed

14. Be regular Try to go to sleep and wake up the same times each day.   This will help train your biological clock

15. Avoid getting in bed after midnight as late hour sleep is not as helpful as earlier hour sleep, (9:30-12pm vs. after 12 pm)

16. Avoid late afternoon or evening naps, or naps longer than 45 minutes unless you are sick or quite sleep deprived

17. Avoid reading stimulating, exciting materials in bed

18.Avoid large meals or spicy foods before bed.

19. Try to eat prior to 3 hours of going to sleep

20. Avoid drinking more than 4-8 ounces of fluid before going to bed

21. Make your bedroom clean in regards to the air especially if you have nasal congestion or are prone to snoring

Use HEPA or other types of air purifiers/filters. Use the filter on a low setting at night if the noise is soothing.         Otherwise use the filter on a medium setting for 4-6 hours during the day.

22. Consider cleaning the vents in your house 1x a year.

Avoid toxic glues or other items producing an odor.

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23. If you smell mold or a musty smell have your bedroom checked or cultured for mold with culture plates. If there is mold have the house evaluated for water leaks and air quality issues.

24. Most people sleep with too much light in their bedroom. Decrease the light in your bedroom and surrounding rooms at least 10 minutes before trying to fall asleep. Use dark window shades and or consider a set of eyeshades or a black sock to cover your eyes when trying to sleep.

25. Decrease the irritating noise in your space by closing windows, using ear plugs, or using a white noise generator such as a HEPA air filter etc. Turn off or remove any appliances or clocks that make noise.

26. Make sure your sleeping area is the correct temperature range (not too hot or too cold)

27. Avoid sleeping near electric fields. Try to have your head at least 5 feet away from electric fields, if possible. Possible sources of electrical fields include: electrical outlets, clock radios, stereos, computers and monitors. Consider moving these devices or moving your bed or your position in the bed.   Consider using a Tri Field meter in the 1-3 magnetic range and the electric range to test for these fields.

28. Avoid sleeping on a water bed or an electric mattress because of the excessive heat and the electric fields

29. If your nose is blocked up and you have trouble breathing through it consider taking the steps under suggestions 22-25 and 31.   Also consider:

Using a saline nasal spray (or a homeopathic (Thorne) QC spray or combination spray (Sinus Survival) before bed and in the middle of the night.

30. Try nasal expanders that you wear at night such as breath easy.   Make sure you read the instructions and fit them over the lower third of your nose.

31. If you itch at night do steps 22-25 and take steps to decrease the mite and dust amount in your bedrooms.

Use cotton bedding and wash and dry them at high heat.

Use Ultra fine allergy-free pillow and mattress covers.

Consider replacing your pillows with quality hypoallergenic pillows once a year

32. To try and fall asleep consider reading a good neutral book

33. When trying to fall asleep remember times of significant relaxation 

If you are having trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep

34. Don’t stay in bed more than 20-30 minutes trying to fall asleep.   Leave your bedroom and go to a relaxing room other than the bedroom and read or do a relaxation technique (i.e. meditate.) Try a deep breathing technique to stimulate your body’s lymphatic system: Inhale for 5 seconds, Hold breathe for 15 seconds and then exhale for 10 seconds. Repeat 5-10x.

If you are anxious or nervous and have tried the suggestions above under “nighttime tension and anxiety”

35. Avoid repeated negative judgments about the fact that you are unable to sleep.

36. Use positive self-talk phrases regarding your ability to relax and fall asleep.

“I can fall asleep”, “I can relax” or “Any amount of sleep that I get is just fine”

37. Try writing in your journal any disturbing thoughts that are running in your mind.

38. Schedule a time during the next few days to deal with whatever you are troubled by.

39. If you are having trouble managing what you are nervous or upset about consult your health care provider for treatment suggestions or a counseling/therapy referral.

What’s new for treating stress, anxiety and sleep disorders?

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