If you're having trouble sleeping, try some of these behavioral strategies:

Develop a routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Sticking to a regular schedule helps keep your body's internal clock in sync.

Be active during the day. Exercise enables your body to produce chemicals that help you sleep.

Limit naps. Napping during the day can make it hard to fall asleep. If you nap, try to limit your naps to 15 to 30 minutes.

Get sunlight. Try to get at least one to two hours of sunlight each day. Exposure to bright sunlight regulates the production of melatonin, a chemical in the body that's involved in the sleep-wake cycle.

Eat lightly at night. Heavy meals before bed can lead to heartburn or stomach troubles that may interrupt sleep. Limit liquids in the hour and a half before bedtime to reduce nighttime bathroom trips.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine. One drink of alcohol up to four hours before bed can prevent the body from entering the most restful stages of sleep, and it can take six hours to eliminate half the caffeine in a cup of coffee.

Source: Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 19 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 28 Aug 2013