How to Sleep Better Without Drugs or Medications

Sleep is probably the activity that we devote the most of our time to. Many people have trouble sleeping and this can cause all kinds of discomfort and suffering. Here are some tips to help you sleep better.

Reduce or eliminate any drugs that you can. Caffeine (from coffee or colas or energy drinks), nicotine (from cigarettes or other tobacco products), and alcohol (from beer, wine or hard drinks) are all drugs and they all negatively impact sleep. Some people claim these drugs help them relax or fall asleep, but the quality of sleep will be deeply impacted.
Talk with your doctor about your current prescription medication. Many such drugs will negatively affect your sleep. Make sure there is at least one medical professional who knows all the prescription medication you are taking so that any negative affects from mixing certain drugs can be avoided.
Develop a bedtime pattern. Go to bed at the same time every night, including weekends and holidays. Do calming activities, such as reading an enjoyable book, taking a shower or bath, drinking non-caffeinated tea, and so forth. Do not work on the stressful things in your life. Don't worry about your job or your bills.
Remove the TV and computer from your bedroom. Many sleep and relationship experts recommend that the bedroom only be used for sleep and sexual activity. Other activities should be moved to other rooms so you associate your bedroom with sleep and nothing else.
Exercise. Regular physical activity will improve both the ease of falling asleep and the quality of sleep. Do not exercise immediately before bedtime, but rather exercise for at least half an hour during the day. Walking briskly for half an hour each day will have positive effects in many areas of your life, including sleep.
Avoid foods that cause you any problems in your intestines, particularly in the evening. This is especially true of fatty or fried foods. There may also be other types of food or particular foods that give you an upset stomach. Some people are sensitive to spicy foods, others to sugary foods, or you might even be lactose intolerant (meaning you should avoid dairy foods).
If you find that you are not sleeping deeply, talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. This is a condition where you are unable to properly breathe while asleep, so you wake up for a fraction of a second to breathe and then fall back asleep. This can happen hundreds of time per night, giving you minimal rest from your long sleep. Sleep apnea can be treated.
Consider the surface you are sleeping on and the blankets you use. If they are causing you discomfort, consider getting new ones. Since a mattress is a bulky, high ticket item, consider your options carefully when you get a new one.
Consider the temperature of the room that you sleep in. Is it too hot? Too cold? A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set different temperatures at different times of the day for maximum comfort.
Reduce stress in your life! Stress can cause you many kinds of physical and mental anguish. Is your job stressing you? Then get some books about starting a new career. Are your finances stressing you? Then get on a budget and pay off your debt! Is your marriage stressing you? Then find a good marriage counselor.

  • Keep a log of the nights where you slept well and the nights where you didn't. Write down what you did the day before, or how you felt and why. Try to recognize patterns.
  • Get rid of your alarm clock. Instead, work on going to bed early enough that you wake up before the alarm clock goes off.

  • This is not medical advice. Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise plan, change your diet, change your medication, or do other things that affect your health, especially if you have a health condition that needs to be managed.

Copyright 2009 by Michael Nehring