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Sleep Hygiene Tips for Better Sleep:


Avoid and minimize use of caffeine, cigarettes, stimulants, alcohol, and other medications

No caffeine(including decaf and Tea)  from 3pm. Caffeine has along half life in the body and can stay in your body for up to 24 hours. It interferes with adenosine’s signal that tells us to sleep.

Alcohol may make you sleepy at first but interferes with the brain processes that make sleep restorative (refreshing) and leads to wakefulness later

Quit Smoking.  Nicotine is a stimulant which will interfere with sleep.

Eat a light snack if hungry. Avoid heavy meals at bedtime. Try to eat at least 3 hours prior to bedtime

Limit liquids in the evening

If medically able, increase activity level in the afternoon or early evening (not close to bedtime 3hours) by walking or exercising outdoors

Increase exposure to natural light and bright light during day and early evening

Reduce light levels in general one hour prior to bedtime as Melatonin is light sensitive. Some people need total darkness to sleep.  Some find background noise ”White Noise” helpful.

Avoid watching or checking the clock. Do not obsess about the quality or duration of your sleep.

Avoid napping, particularly after 2:00 pm; limit naps to 1 nap of less than 30 minutes. The old wife’s tale about an hour of sleep before midnight equal to two hours after midnight is true.

Check the effect of medications on sleep.


Stimulus Control:

Create a peaceful bedroom environment.  Bedroom should be at a comfortable temperature: Cool, Dark and Quiet as much as possible

 Go to bed only when sleepy.  Do not use the bed for eating or TV watching.  Bed is meant for only sex and sleep.(Hopefully in that order)

Avoid mental excitement prior to bedtime (Raptors win/Leafs lose)  

Avoid all screen time mobile phone, tablets, television for at least 45 minutes prior to bedtime.   Their bright lights trick the brain into thinking that it is daytime

Keep a regular schedule of eating and exercise and a regular sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time each day, even on weekends. Get out of bed the same time each day, no matter how little sleep you got the night before

Control pets. Pets disrupt sleep if they are on and off the bed, taking up space, or wanting to be let out.


Relaxation Strategies:

 Avoid arousing activities before bed (i.e. late night phone calls, doing work, watching TV).

 Designate at least 1 hour before bedtime to help unwind from the day’s stresses. You can even trying dimming the lights.

 Do something relaxing before bed such as reading, deep breathing, stretching, yoga, or relaxation CDs.

Sleep consolidation. NO sense lying in bed if you are not sleeping.  If you don’t fall asleep soon, get out of bed and do something that will make you sleepy, such as reading an old fashioned book or magazine. (Medical journals does it for me😊)Return to bed after you start to feel drowsy.


Stress-management measures:

Maintain a social life rather than napping

Ask for family assistance with your plans. They can drag you to bed rather than bingeing on Netflix

Tolerance of occasional sleeplessness. Not every night will have perfect sleep.  If you don’t sleep well one night, you will sleep like a lamb the next night!

Discuss worries and stressful events enough time before bedtime

Use relaxation techniques


Many medications interfere with sleep:

Central nervous system stimulants: sympathomimetics, caffeine, nicotine, antidepressants,       , ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine Phenytoin

Antidepressants: bupropion, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, venlafaxine

Anti-Parkinsonian agents: levodopa   Decongestants: pseudoephedrine

Bronchodilators: theophylline    Cardiovascular: B-blockers, diuretics

Antihypertensives: clonidine, methyldopa, corticosteroids

Histamines, H 2 blockers: cimetidine   Anticholinergics   Alcohol

Herbal remedies   Stimulant laxatives


Books, Self Help, Website links for insomnia

Judith Davidson: Sink into Sleep

Colleen Carney:   Quiet Your mind to go to sleep

Mind over Mood by Greenberger and Padefsky

YouTube: Christine KOROL

 “The Insomnia Workbook” by Stephanie Silberman and Charles Morin. An excellent book costing as low as $16.00 online.

  There are many Smartphone apps available for insomnia and relaxation.

   FREE WEBSITE/PODCAST called ““. Listen to the stories as your mind wanders off and you fall asleep naturally.

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