Relieving chronic pain and controlling medical conditions such as frequent urination may improve sleep in some people. Treating depression can also improve sleep.
Sleeping in a quiet room that is not too hot or too cold and having a relaxing bedtime routine may help improve symptoms. Other ways to promote sleep include the following healthy lifestyle tips:
- Avoid large meals shortly before bedtime.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine after mid-afternoon.
- Get regular exercise early in the day.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- DO NOT take naps.
- Use the bed only for sleep or sexual activity.
If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet activity such as reading or listening to music.
Avoid using sleeping pills to help you sleep, if possible. They can lead to dependence and can make sleep problems worse over time if you don't use them correctly. Your health care provider should assess your risks of daytime sleepiness, mental (cognitive) side effects, and falls before you begin taking sleep medications.
- If you think you need sleeping pills, talk with your doctor about which pills are safe for you when taken properly. Certain sleeping pills should not be taken on a long-term basis.
- DO NOT drink alcohol at any time when you are using sleeping pills. Alcohol can make the side effects of all sleeping pills worse.
WARNING: The FDA has asked manufacturers of certain sleep medicines to put stronger warning labels on their products so that consumers are more aware of the potential risks. Possible risks while taking such medicines include severe allergic reactions and dangerous sleep-related behaviors, including sleep-driving. Ask your doctor about these risks.