Sleep and Aging

Frequently Asked Questions

11. What are some suggestions for getting a good night's sleep?

A good night's sleep can make a big difference in how you feel. Here are some suggestions to help you.

  • Follow a regular schedule -- go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on weekends.
  • Try not to nap too much during the day -- you might be less sleepy at night.
  • Try to exercise at regular times each day. If possible, finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Try to get some natural light in the afternoon each day.
  • Don't drink beverages with caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake.
  • Don't drink alcohol to help you sleep. Even small amounts of alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep.
  • Don't smoke to help you sleep. Smoking is dangerous for many reasons, including the hazard of falling asleep with a lit cigarette. Also, the nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant.
  • Create a safe and comfortable place to sleep. The room should be dark, well ventilated, and as quiet as possible.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to tell your body that it's time to wind down. Some people watch the evening news, read a book, or soak in a warm bath.
  • After turning off the light, give yourself about 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you are still awake and not drowsy, get out of bed. When you get sleepy, go back to bed.