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Changing your sleep habits

Insomnia - sleep habits; Sleep disorder - sleep habits; Problems falling asleep; Sleep hygiene

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Description

Sleep patterns are often learned as children. When we repeat these patterns over many years, they become habits.

Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. In many cases, you can relieve insomnia by making a few simple lifestyle changes. But, it may take some time if you have had the same sleep habits for years.

How Much Sleep is Enough?

People who have insomnia are often worried about getting enough sleep. The more they try to sleep, the more frustrated and upset they get, and the harder it becomes to sleep.

Remember, the quality of sleep and how rested you feel afterward is as important as how much sleep you get.

Change Your Lifestyle

Before you go to bed:

During the day:

Stop or cut back on smoking and drinking alcohol. And reduce your caffeine intake.

If you are taking any medicines, diet pills, herbs, or supplements, ask your health care provider about the effects they may have on your sleep.

Find ways to manage stress.

Change Your Bedtime Habits

Your bed is for sleeping. Do not do things like eat or work while in bed.

Develop a sleep routine.

Find calming, relaxing activities to do before bedtime.

If you cannot fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and move to another room. Do a quiet activity until you feel sleepy.

When to Call the Doctor

Talk to your provider if:

References

American Academy of Sleep Medicine website. Insomnia - overview and facts. sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/insomnia. Updated March 4, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2020.

Chokroverty S, Avidan AY. Sleep and its disorders. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 102.

Edinger JD, Leggett MK, Carney CE, Manber R. Psychological and behavioral treatments for insomnia II: implementation and specific populations. In: Kryger M, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 86.

Vaughn BV, Basner RC. Sleep disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 377.

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Review Date: 4/9/2020  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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