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Getting Better Sleep — Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Woman sleeping

January 05, 2022

Getting a good night's sleep is beneficial for your overall health and well-being. Our sleep medicine expert, Damien Stevens, MD, shares 10 tips and answers frequently asked questions about better sleep.

10 ways to get better sleep

  1. Avoid drinking alcohol near bedtime as it will disrupt the 2nd half of your sleep once the alcohol metabolizes and leaves the body.
  2. Stay active and busy during the day. Exposure to bright light and activity throughout the day tells your body that is the time to be awake.
  3. Use a dim light in the evening to signal the release of melatonin, which promotes sleepiness. Sleep comes easier if your body gets signals that it's time for sleep.
  4. Avoid stimulating things close to bedtime, such as caffeine or exercise. Exercise is important for well-being, but if it's done too late at night, it can keep you alert.
  5. Have a plan for when you have a tough time sleeping. For example, learn some mindful meditation techniques. Various apps, like Calm, offer guided meditations and stories to help you fall asleep.
  6. Do not look at clocks or check your phone if you wake up during the night. Avoid any electronic lights in your room as they can have a negative effect on sleep.
  7. Avoid eating large quantities near bedtime.
  8. Avoid naps if possible as they generally detract from nighttime sleep. Short naps may be acceptable if they are not causing you to wake up during the middle of the night.
  9. Avoid driving late at night.
  10. Keep your bedroom temperature around 64-68 degrees, which is ideal for good sleep.
Man sleeping

Get a better night's sleep

If you have ongoing trouble with sleeping, talk to your doctor. You may want to speak with a sleep medicine specialist.

Learn more

Frequently asked questions about sleep

  • Yes. In fact, there are terms for COVID-19 affecting sleep: “coronasomnia” or “COVID-somnia.” Some have experienced anxiety and stress because of the pandemic, which has led to insomnia. There are additional tips for those experiencing insomnia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Lack of sleep can cause a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, weight gain, changes in blood pressure, and more.

  • There are several exercises you can do to overcome insomnia, including controlled breathing and meditation. Learn more with our resilience toolbox.

  • It varies by person, but most adults need 6 or more hours of sleep per night. But the quality of sleep is more important than quantity, so it’s important for you to find out how many hours you need to function properly. Once you find that number, try to maintain consistency. Keep the same bedtime and wake up time every day.

  • Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when normal breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. To diagnose sleep apnea, a doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and sleeping habits and may recommend a sleep study.

  • For some patients, treating sleep apnea is as simple as losing weight or lifestyle changes. For others, it may be the use of a continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) machine, medications, sleep apnea surgery or Inspire therapy. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment based on your situation.

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