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Sleep Better - 10 Tips

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I'm not sleeping well and have been waking up in the middle of the night. I can't think of any stress or reason for doing this. But, I'm tired at work, then come home and take a short 30 minute nap after dinner to catch up on my rest, so usually feel better by the evening. Could this be an aging thing? I'm a 44 year old male, married with a 10 year old.


Sleepless in Seattle

Dear Sleepless in Seattle,

You may not be able to pinpoint a reason for your lack of a good night's rest, but often people do not see the obvious until they talk about it with their spouse or physician. Common sources of stress are worries about money, job security, relationships, or illness.

As tired as you are, try not to take the nap after dinner as it contributes to the sleepless cycle.

John Shepard Jr., M.D., of the Sleep Disorders Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota provides 10 tips for more restful sleep (Shepard cited in WholeFitness, 2009). Dr. Shepard recommends trying one or two of the tips or a combination until you have enough quality sleep. If these tips don�t work, then see your physician as you might have a sleep disorder that requires medical attention.


1. Stick to a schedule, even on weekends.

2. Do not eat and drink a lot before bed.

3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.

4. Exercise, the best time is the afternoon.

5. Slightly cool room is ideal for sleeping.

6. Sleep primarily at night, limit naps to less than one hour and before 3 p.m.

7. Keep it quiet, if necessary use earplugs, a fan or some other source of constant, soothing, background noise to mask sounds you can't control.

8. Make your bed comfortable, and use your bed only for sleep and sex.

9. Taking a hot shower or bath before bed helps bring on sleep.

10. Do not rely on sleeping pills. If you do use sleeping pills, then make sure the pills won't interact with other medications, never mix alcohol and sleeping pills. Reduce the medication dosage gradually when you want to quit.