How to sleep better

  1. Get a big dose of exercise, every day, but not in the hour or so before bed. It’s great to get at least a few minutes at your desired waking time, to tell your body the day has begun. That way the body clock is more likely to tell you that it’s sleep time a certain number of hours later.

  2. Keep a regular bedtime and wakeup time, so your body clock can know when to get sleepy and when to wake up

  3. No caffeine after noon

  4. Don’t do things in bed other than sleep and rest: don’t watch tv, be on phone, read, try to solve problems…

  5. Try to get an association between being in bed and sleeping or pleasantly resting. If you are wide awake in bed, and it’s not possible to rest pleasantly, get up and do something productive but not too exciting, like studying a school subject. Go back to bed after a while and see if you can sleep or pleasantly rest.

  6. Don’t think, “It will be awful if I can’t get to sleep. My goal is to get to sleep very soon!” This thought tends to keep people awake. Instead think, “My goal is to enjoy the time I spend pleasantly and calmly resting and relaxing while lying in bed awake; if I do that, falling asleep will take care of itself.”

  7. Avoid blue light or bright light for the hour or so before bed. Yellow sunglasses filter out blue. Bright light in the morning is helpful in telling the body that it’s day time.

  8. Practice relaxing at times when you aren’t wanting to go to sleep, and gradually increase your skill at getting into a relaxed state.

  9. Practice the “pleasant dreams exercise”: while awake, you make up fantasies involving beautiful places, very kind people, calmness and peace, and without danger and conflict. In other words, make up what would be a pleasant dream to have, the opposite of a nightmare.

  10. Go to sleep with the same set of stimuli that you will find when you wake up – without tv on, without music playing, without light on, etc. That way when you wake up, you’ll be in practice of falling asleep in the conditions under which you wake up.

  11. Avoid scary movies and books, especially in the evenings before bed. The opposite of this is to read comforting stories about kind people – these are the sort that are more often in children’s literature than adults’.

  12. If there are nightmares, try to remember what they are. Then when you are awake, practice starting with the same characters in the same setting, but change the story to make it totally nonviolent and with a happy ending. If there are bad people, use the powers you have over your own imagination to change them into good people who will help you out.

  13. If your sleep clock (the one in your brain) is set to go to sleep and get up too late, you can move the clock earlier in four ways: 1) practice getting out of bed a little earlier each morning, 2) eat breakfast a little earlier each morning, 3) exercise a little earlier each morning, and 4) get exposed to some bright light for at least half an hour, a little earlier each morning. Look on the internet for a “dawn simulator,” which wakes you up to gradually brightening light, and as “SAD light” or “happy light” of 10,000 lux brightness, to get the bright light exposure after waking up. Once you have set your clock to go to bed and get up early enough, use the same 4 ways to try to keep it from slipping later and later.