Hints for Falling Asleep

Having trouble falling asleep at night? Here are some techniques to improve "sleep hygiene" from Dr. Elliott Phillips, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Holy Cross Hospital:

- Do your regular exercises in the late afternoon or early evening rather than right before bedtime.

- Review the day's events and problems during the early evening. Write down any troubling thoughts or things still to be done so that they will not be on your mind at bedtime.

- Don't drink coffee, cola drinks or tea, except herbal tea, after your last meal. Abstain from alcohol also.

- Do something relaxing before bedtime, such as watching television, listening to music or reading a book.

- Avoid sleeping pills.

- Don't use your bedroom for studying, working, paying bills or the like. Use it only for sleeping or sexual activity.

- Have a regular bedtime routine.

- Don't stay in bed for more than 15 minutes if you cannot fall asleep. Don't try too hard to fall asleep. Instead, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.

- Don't nap during the day if you have trouble sleeping at night.

- Don't go to bed until you feel sleepy.

- Get up at a regular time every morning, no matter what time you went to bed the night before or how little sleep you might have had.

For information on the Sleep Disorders Center call (818) 898-4639.

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