How to Sleep Better

We can all use a few good zzzzzz’s.

Come on, is there anything better than a good night of sleep? Unfortunately, it can also feel like one of the hardest things in the world to attain. Here are a few not so hard ways to (hopefully) improve your odds of getting one.

Stay on schedule Got to bed and wake up at the same time every day… yes, even the weekends. We know! But this will get your mind and body on track and in sync.

Keep bed for sleep Don't get into bed until you're ready to go to sleep, and don't go in your bedroom until it's time to get ready for bed. Subconsciously, your body and mind will start to associate those places with sleep.

Make a bedtime routine Do comforting things like showering, drinking chamomile tea and reading (but no page turners!) to get yourself ready for bed. Not only does this help calm you down, but again, it creates a routine that tells your mind and body it's time for sleep. A few things not to include in your routine: television and exercise – both are too stimulating.

Do it right during the day Get enough exercise (it promotes good sleep), don't drink too much caffeine (it does not promote good sleep), and limit your alcohol. While alcohol may help put you to sleep, the sleepy effects will wear off a few hours into the night and leave you wide awake again.

Contain your worries If rumination tends to keep you awake at night, try writing down the things you're stressing about before you go to bed, and simply setting them aside 'til morning. Do the same thing if you wake up in the middle of the night worrying – things tend to feel a lot worse when you're tired.

Nestpert: Judith F. Kashtan, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist in the Twin Cities and past president of the Minnesota Psychiatric Association. Find out more at

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