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by Jessica Youdin, AARP The Magazine, March, 2007
Before you resort to pills or therapy, make sure your insomnia isn’t caused by bad habits. To get back on track in the sack, follow these principles of what experts call sleep hygiene.
Soften up your bedding A cushy comforter or an especially fluffy pillow can go a long way toward making sure that you sleep soundly.
Stay in the dark Even the light from an LED clock can keep you up or harm your rest. Pull darkening shades tight or cover your eyes with a mask. If you awaken at night and need a light, make it a dim one.
Don’t live in the bedroom Use your bed only for sleep and sex, not for reading or watching TV.
Give it 20 minutes If you are still tossing and turning after that interval, get up, go into another room, and do something quiet and boring, such as reading an instruction manual.
Keep a schedule It doesn’t matter whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, as long as you sleep and rise at the same time every day (even on weekends).
Ban the booze Drinking alcohol near bedtime might make you sleepy, but it can cause wakefulness in the middle of the night.
Nosh a bit Although a heavy meal before bed can keep you awake, so can hunger. Munch a few crackers before turning in if you’re feeling hungry.
Wean off caffeine Avoid stimulating drinks such as tea, coffee, and soda, particularly before bed.
Scrap the naps Sleeping during the day can steal slumber at night.
Still not sleeping? Learn where you can find a certified sleep coach.
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