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Top-10 Best Sleep Habits: Advice From a Doctor

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

sleeping-womanSleep is one of our most basic instincts.  So why is it so difficult for some of us to get enough?

Studies continue to laud its health benefits.  One study found that people who didn't get at least eight hours of quality sleep were at three to five times the risk for the common cold because of decreased immunity.  Surely this is just the canary in the coal mine.  If if it makes us more susceptible to a cold, to what other, more serious, problems can it lead?

Here are 10 tried-and-true tips for better sleep hygiene.

  1. Go to bed at the same time every night.
  2. Use the bed for sleep and sex—nothing else, like watching television or reading, unless the ultimate purpose is to go to sleep. Train your body that bed equals sleep.
  3. Don't drink caffeine products after noon.
  4. Some find that late evening exercise may affect their sleep by increasing their metabolism at an inconvenient time.
  5. Relax a while before going to bed.
  6. Don't try to solve problems or go over the day's activities after you go to bed. It might be helpful to write a to-do list for tomorrow before bedtime.
  7. newsletter-graphicAvoid late evening alcohol. (For more on this, see the box in the right column on this page.)
  8. Avoid large, late-evening meals.
  9. Something like warm milk or chamomile tea helps some people.
  10. If you snore loudly, consider a sleep apnea evaluation.

Here's to a good night's sleep.

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Family doctor JAMES HUBBARD, M.D., M.P.H., is the publisher of and What to Do When Help Is NOT on the Way.

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Last updated and/or approved: January 2012.
First published January 2009. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.

Comments (2)add comment
Smoke weed
written by Bobby , October 01, 2011

Roll a doobie and hit that chronic son. I've had insomnia sense I was 7, and for 8 years I was loaded on ambien and other useless synthetics. I never liked the idea of putting chemically processed aids I into my body. That's why I stopped using them when I was fiftteen. One time after dinner I smoked a bowl and was out cold for the entire night. The rest of the following day I felt like a million bucks. Trust me, use marijuana and support the cause. And if you have a problem with it then move to a state where everyone uses it legally. Im living in Colorado now and smoke legally. Plus herb will save the world. Legalize!
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written by RAFAEL SOLORZANO , March 21, 2010

I am tired of Ambien,it is losing strength.Can I try KAVA KAVA FOR SLEEP?oR CAN i TRY ATIVAN FOR SLEEP?
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