There is considerable agreement among researchers and clinicians on how to avoid sleep problems. These recommendations are summarizes in the table; some are based on actual research, and others are simply the best judgments of experts in the field.1
Regular Sleep Schedule: Establish a regular schedule of going to bed and getting up. Set your alarm for a specific time every morning and get up at that time no matter how little you may have slept. Be consistent about naps. Take a nap every afternoon or not at all; when you take a nap only occasionally, you probably will not sleep well that night. Waking up late on weekends can also disrupt you sleep cycle.
Alcohol and Caffeine: Having a stiff drink of alcohol before going to bed may put you to sleep, but it disturbs the sleep cycle and can cause you to wake up early the next day. In addition, stay away from caffeinated drinks like coffee or cola for several hours before bedtime. Caffeine works as a stimulant even on those people who claim they are not affected by it, and the body needs 4 to 5 hours to halve the amount of caffeine in the bloodstream at any one time. If you must drink something before bedtime, try milk; there is evidence to support the folklore that glass of warm milk at bedtime induces sleep.
Eating Before Bedtime: Don’t eat heavily before going to bed, since your digestive system will have to do several hours of work. If you must eat something before bedtime, have a light snack.
Exercise: Regular exercise will help you sleep better, but don’t engage in strenuous workout just before going to bed.
Sleeping Pills: Be careful about using sleeping pills. All of the various kinds tend to disrupt the sleep cycle, and long term use in evitable leads to insomnia. Even on nights before exams, avoid using a sleeping pill. One bad night of sleep tends not to affect performance the next day, but hangover from a sleeping pill may.
Relax: Avoid stressful...