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Handy Hints for Getting Good Night's Sleep

March 26, 1992

Here are some general suggestions medical sources offer for healthy people who occasionally have trouble falling asleep. If a sleeping problem, such as insomnia, persists longer than two or three weeks, a person should consult his doctor for other options.

* Establish and stick to a regular bedtime and a regular wake-up time. Even if you had trouble sleeping the night before, don't go to bed early the next night in hopes of catching up on lost sleep.

* Make your bedroom your sleep room. Don't watch television, read or eat in bed. When you get into bed, turn off the lights and try to get to sleep.

* Exercise regularly early in the day. Don't exercise at night or near bedtime.

* Make your bedroom as comfortable a place as possible. Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold, too dark or too light.

* The average person needs between seven and eight hours of sleep, but some people can sleep 10 hours and still not be well-rested. Slowly work toward obtaining the right amount of sleep you need each night.

* Do not take naps during the day or evening, even if you had trouble sleeping the night before.

* Do not drink caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks) after dinner. Some people need to stop drinking caffeinated drinks even earlier in the day, say six hours or more before bedtime.

* Do not eat late at night and avoid heavy or spicy foods for dinner.

* Do not drink large amounts of any liquid (water, soda pop, alcohol) in the evening.

* Do not lie awake in bed for long. If you can't fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing (like eating a light snack or reading) before trying to fall asleep again.

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