Sleep Tips

  1. Your bedroom should be safe, dark, quiet, and your bed comfortable.

  2. Use you bed and bedroom only for sleep and sex and not for office work, TV, or reading.

  3. Use earplugs and eye mask if necessary

  4. Sleep in the same room and bed every night; try not to fall asleep on the couch and then move to the bedroom

  5. 15-30 minute naps during the day are fine, but longer than that can disrupt your sleep cycle

  6. Develop a sleep ritual, a certain routine you follow every night.

  7. Set regular bedtime and wake times. Your wake time shouldn’t vary by more than one hour, seven days a week. Avoid sleeping in on weekends

  8. A 30-minute hot bath 2 hours before retiring will improve deep sleep.

  9. Exercise improves deep sleep.

  10. Avoid stimulation or anxiety-provoking work before bed, including paying bills or “important” conversations.

  11. Avoid bright lights, TV, computer, pad, or smart phone screens 1/2 hour before bed.

  12. Face clocks away from you so you don’t clock watch,

  13. If you have trouble getting out of bed, put your alarm clock on the other side of the room.

  14. Avoid alcohol within 5 hours of bedtime. It can put you to sleep but causes middle-of-night awakening.

  15. Avoid nicotine, a frequent cause of sleep problems.

  16. Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) after noon.

  17. The best bedtime snack is oatmeal and milk, for the complex carbs and tryptophan

  18. If you lie awake for more than 15 minutes, get up, sit in a chair and read with a dim light until you are tired, then go back to bed

  19. Medications can be stimulating or sleep-inducing, so time them appropriately.

  20. Prescription sleep medications are to be used only as needed and only for several weeks, otherwise they cause tolerance and dependence.

  21. Melatonin 0.5 mg at 6 pm helps to re-set your sleep cycle.

  22. Focusing on abdominal breathing (lengthening the exhalations and progressive muscle relaxation can help you fall asleep. Meditating 15-20 minutes sitting up, not in bed, can be a healthy part of your sleep ritual. Some people may be energized, however.

  23. Clear your airway. Use a sedating cold or allergy medication if needed.

  24. Anticholinergic drugs used chronically cause brain damage (smaller brains, early Alzheimer’s, poor memory and executive functioning). These include Tylenol PM, Benadryl, Claritin, Dimetapp, Paxil, Xanax and other benzodiazepines.

  25. Apps for sleep can be helpful, such as Pzizz, Calm, and Headspace. Jody Whiteley’s Sleep Hypnosis on YouTube is excellent. You can purchase sleep headphones on Amazon.

  26. Sleepbot and Sleep Cycle Apps give you feedback on how you are sleeping.

  27. This article will give you good reasons not to take pills for sleep: mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/02/20/dementia-linked-to-benzodiazepines-sleeping-pills-anticholinergics/

For additional information and guidance, please check out Tuck Sleep

High-Tech Meditation Aids

Over the years I have been a gadget guy, and I studied biofeedback therapy during my residency at the Menninger Clinic.  Temperature, breathing, GSR (galvanic skin response), EMG (muscle tension), and EEG (brainwave) biofeedback are proven effective treatments for anxiety, stress-related illnesses, insomnia, some types of ADHD, chronic pain, headaches, and other disorders.

Biofeedback machines used by professionals are the most effective and the most expensive, and some are available for purchase to use at home.

I recommend you look up Muse, Spire, Thync, Inner Balance Lightning, and Pip on Amazon, read the reviews, the company products websites, and look at the research on biofeedback and meditation through Google Scholar.

For guided meditation I recommend the apps Headspace, Buddhify, Mindfulness, and Insight Timer.