Sleep Tips

The average person should have at least 8 hours of solid sleep each night to function well the next day.

Try these tips for a more restful sleep.*

  • Plan your schedule for 8 hours of sleep.
  • Maintain a regular wake time, 365 days/year.
  • Go to bed only when you are drowsy.
  • If you are in bed and can’t sleep for 20 minutes, get up, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity. Go to bed only when you are sleepy. Repeat if necessary.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep, sex and recuperation.
  • If you wake up to use the bathroom, avoid bright lights.
  • Don’t nap during the day if you can’t sleep at night. If you nap, maintain a regular daily schedule and limit it to one hour max. Recommended time is mid-afternoon before 3 pm.
  • Create a pre-sleep ritual such as a warm bath, light snack or 10 minutes of reading. However, avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly, but at least six hours before bedtime for rigorous exercise and four hours before bedtime for moderate exercise.
  • Keep a regular schedule for meals, medications, chores and other activities to keep your internal “clock” running smoothly.
  • Avoid caffeine for six hours before bedtime (coffee, tea, pop, chocolate, cocoa).
  • Don’t drink alcohol when sleepy as it severely affects quality of sleep during the night and can promote insomnia.
  • Avoid tobacco use close to bedtime or during the night.
  • Use sleeping pills conservatively and for no more than two to three weeks. Tell your physician about any related breathing problems during sleep.
  • Limit use of digital devices, such as cell phones, before bedtime. More information on the effects that digital devices can have on sleep are found in this report.

*Several tips from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

If you still have problems sleeping or feel chronically tired, you could have a serious sleep disorder such as sleep apnea and snoring, narcolepsy, insomnia, periodic limb movements or parasomnias such as sleepwalking or nightmares. If left untreated, such disorders can lead to excessive fatigue, a wide variety of serious health conditions, and accidents at work, on the road or even at home.

If you're unsure of how much sleep is appropriate for you or a loved one, see the National Sleep Foundation's sleep duration recommendations below. Or, use the bedtime calculator provided by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Children, teens and adults can use this calculator to identify an appropriate bedtime. Simply select your age and choose your wake time to see the results. You also can use the slider to see how a change in your wake time affects your bedtime.

Age Recommended       Not Recommended
Newborns (0-3 months) 14 to 17 hours Less than 11 hours / More than 19 hours
Infants (4-11 months) 12 to 15 hours Less than 10 hours / More than 18 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years) 11 to 14 hours Less than 9 hours / More than 16 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years) 10 to 13 hours Less than 8 hours / More than 14 hours
School-aged children (6-13 years)       9 to 11 hours Less than 7 hours / More than 12 hours
Teenagers (14-17 years) 8 to 10 hours Less than 7 hours / More than 11 hours
Young adults (18-25 years) 7 to 9 hours Less than 6 hours / More than 11 hours
Adults (26-64 years) 7 to 9 hours Less than 6 hours / More than 10 hours
Older adults (65+ years) 7 to 8 hours Less than 5 hours / More than 9 hours

If you have a problem with sleep, talk to your physician and call the Center at 989.583.2930.