WAKE UP RESTED

Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule (including weekends) to regulate your circadian rhythm. This will allow your body to fall asleep and wake up naturally.

Use your bedroom for only sleep and sex.

If pregnant, in the third trimester, sleep on your left side to allow best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys.

Pillows are an essential aspect in getting a good night’s rest. Ensure that your pillows are clean and suited to the position in which you sleep. This can help prevent neck or back pain, insomnia and headaches upon waking.

Be a role model! Set a good example for your children by establishing your own regular sleep schedule and maintaining a home that promotes healthy sleep.

Minimize noise with earplugs. Minimize light with room darkening curtains or an eye mask. If you get up in the middle of the night, use a night light to guide your way and avoid bright lights.

Regular aerobic exercise can reduce stress hormones and lead to a deeper sleep. Remember to avoid strenuous exercise at least three hours before bedtime.

Learning relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises taught in yoga or progressive muscle relaxation, and practice them in bed.

Make sleep a priority and keep a regular schedule. If you find you are still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about possible sleep disorders.

Anemia is the leading cause of fatigue in women. Iron deficiency (which can be caused by menstruation) prevents your tissues and organs from receiving adequate oxygen. Taking supplements or eating lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans and iron-enriched cereals can help.

Dehydration causes fatigue. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Your body needs plenty of water to work well and keep cool.

Working nights or rotating shifts can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Limit your exposure to daylight when you need to rest. Make your room dark, quiet and cool. If you are still having issues, talk with your doctor about medications and supplements.

TOSSING AND TURNING?

Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) before bedtime.

Avoid nicotine at all times, but especially close to bedtime. It can keep you awake. This includes second and third hand smoking.

Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. It is a depressant that can help you fall asleep, but as it metabolizes, the subsequent withdrawal syndrome causes awakenings, nightmares and sweats.

If you suffer from heartburn, avoid large amounts of spicy, acidic or fried foods before bed. Sleeping with your torso elevated can also ease acid reflux.

If you suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome, elevate your lower legs and feet while you sleep.

Limit television, video game, smart phone and other electronic usage before bedtime. These highly interactive distractions prevent your body from winding down before bed.

Avoid napping late in the afternoon. If needed, take a brief 10-20 minute nap about 8 hours after you wake.

Try to keep your mind off of worrisome issues before bed. Don’t discuss highly emotional or upsetting issues in bed.

If you wake in the middle of the night, leave the bedroom and read a book until you feel sleepy. Do not stay in bed.

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and various OTC medications. Discontinue use at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you consume to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as headaches.

Stress can wreak havoc on sleep. Develop a pre-sleep routine to break any connection between the stress of the day and bedtime.

DON’T WATCH THE CLOCK!

Clock watching will keep your brain alert, preventing you from falling asleep.

Sleep apnea can cause you to think you’re sleeping through the night; in reality, you are waking multiple times as you briefly stop breathing. The result is sleep deprivation. Sleep with a CPAP device to keep airway passages open at night, quit smoking and lose weight if you are overweight.

You may think of depression as an emotional disorder, but one of the most common symptoms is fatigue. Consult your doctor as depression responds well to psychotherapy and/or medication.

Fatigue may be caused by hypothyroidism. Have thyroid hormone levels tested by a physician. Medication can help regulate your metabolism.

Research indicates that too much caffeine actually causes fatigue in some people. Gradually cut back as stopping suddenly can cause more fatigue.

Diabetics often run out of energy and feel fatigued despite having enough to eat. If you have persistent, unexplained fatigue, have your doctor test for diabetes. Changes to diet, exercise and insulin therapy can help.

Persistent, unexplained and severe fatigue lasting more than 6 months could indicate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. Talk with your doctor, as there is no cure, changes in daily habits can alleviate the symptoms.

PEACEFUL SLEEP

Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music.

Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.

Finish eating two to three hours before your regular bedtime.

Exercise regularly and complete your workout at least three hours before your regular bedtime.

Newborns, infants and toddlers need 12-18 hours of sleep per day. School age children need 10-13 hours. Teens need 8-9 hours. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep.

People benefit most from sleeping in a cool room. The lower temperature will ease bacteria growth keeping your environment healthier as well as allow your heart rate to slow, helping you fall asleep faster.

Adjusting children to a new school schedule? Begin incrementally introducing the new sleep routine two weeks before school begins.

Maintain a sleep schedule for your children. Avoid using weekends to “catch up on sleep.”

If you are hungry before bed, a glass of milk is a good choice. Milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan which has been proven in studies to help people fall asleep.

Stop working on any task an hour before bedtime to calm mental activity.

Avoid allowing pets in your bed. Pets carry dust mites, dander and other allergens, which can be deposited in your bed causing you to wake with allergic symptoms and increase respiratory illnesses

Avoid sleeping with pets. Their movement in the middle of the night may disturb your sleep and prevent you from attaining a restful (REM) sleep.

Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and at a temperature between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Room temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees are optimal.

Pay attention to the lights in your room. Red light from an alarm clock is not as unsettling as blue LED light from a cable box. Blue lights indicate “day” to our primordial selves and tend to keep us awake.

Foods that may help promote sleep include tuna, halibut, pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, eggs, bok choy, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, buckwheat and bananas.

Try not to drink fluids after 8:00 p.m. This will help prevent bathroom breaks in the middle of the night.

Eating too little or eating the wrong foods causes fatigue. Maintain a balanced diet including protein and complex carbohydrates.

Some doctors believe hidden food allergies make you sleepy. If you are experiencing fatigue immediately following a meal, you may have a mild intolerance to something you ate. Try eliminating foods one at a time or speak with an allergist.