Sleep Disorders: Preventing Sleep Problems
In some cases, sleep problems are related to preventable health conditions.
Addressing such conditions may help prevent sleep disorders. For example,
experts think that weight loss may help overweight people who have obstructive
Other times, lifestyle modifications may be needed to prevent a sleep
disorder from developing. For example, exercise along with a healthy diet can
ward off sleep problems.
Other sleep problems can be avoided with the use of good sleep habits, called
sleep hygiene. Below are some suggestions for better sleep:
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time
- Try not to take naps during the day because naps may make you less
sleepy at night.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine
and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can
cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality.
- Get regular
exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and
make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest not exercising for three hours
before the time you go to sleep.
- Don't eat a heavy meal late in the day.
your sleeping place comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too
warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a
problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a "white noise" machine to cover up the sounds.
- Follow a routine to help you relax and wind down before sleep, such as reading a
book, listening to music, or taking a bath.
- Avoid using your bed for anything
other than sleep or sex.
- If you can't fall asleep and don't feel drowsy, get up
and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
- If you have trouble lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list
before you go to bed. This may help you to avoid focusing on those worries
Reviewed by The Sleep Medicine Center at The Cleveland Clinic.
Edited by Michael J.
, WebMD, September 2004.
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2000-2005Last Editorial Review: 6/20/2005