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Set Up Good Sleep Habits

Section III – Lifestyle Issues - Set Up Good Sleep Habits

HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide

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 Section IIILifestyle Issues

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Set Up Good Sleep Habits

Plan ahead. Don’t start writing a
paper the night before it is due or cram for a test the night before
you have it. Doing these things starts a cycle of staying up all
night and never catching up on sleep.
Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight
exposure daily.
Get regular exercise, but not within a
few hours of going to bed.
If you have a roommate, discuss and
decide when your room will be used for studying, socializing, and
sleep.
If your dorm is too noisy to sleep,
talk to your resident advisor and/or learn to tune out the noise in
order to get to sleep. If it helps, listen to soft music with
earphones when you fall asleep. Wear earplugs, if necessary.

An hour or two before
going to bed, dim the
lights in your room
Make your dorm room or bedroom as
comfortable as possible. Create a quiet, dark atmosphere. Keep the room
temperature comfortable (neither too warm nor too cold). Don’t wait
longer than a week to change the sheets on your bed.
Have food items rich in the amino acid L-tryptophan,
such as milk, turkey, or tuna fish, before you go to bed. Eating foods
with carbohydrates, such as cereal, breads, and fruits may help as well.
(Do not, however, take L-tryptophan supplements.)
Develop a regular bedtime routine. Brush
your teeth, lock or check doors and windows, get your backpack ready for
the next day, etc. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every
day.
Take a long, warm bath or shower before
bedtime.
Read a book or do some repetitive, calm
activity. Avoid distractions that may hold your attention and keep you
awake, such as watching a suspenseful movie.
Avoid caffeine in all forms after
lunchtime. Caffeine is in coffee, tea, chocolate, colas, other soft
drinks, such as Mountain Dew, and some bottled water, such as Cup of
Joe.
Don’t take No-Doz. Avoid alcoholic
beverages at dinnertime and during the rest of the evening, too. Even
though alcohol is a sedative, it can disrupt sleep.
Don’t take over-the-counter sleeping pills
or friends’ or relatives’ sleeping pills. Only take sleep medicine with
your health care provider’s permission.
Count sheep! Picturing a repeated image
may bore you to sleep.

©2005,
6th edition. American Institute for Preventive Medicine
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December 08, 2005