Question: What are some things I can do during the day to help me sleep better at night?
Answer: We oftentimes discuss with our patients sleep hygiene strategies. And sleep hygiene basically are certain strategies and techniques that you can implement during the daytime that promote good sleep. Some of these include, keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule. So having that consistency helps to control our circadian rhythm or entrain our circadian rhythm which gives us, our body has this sort of, innate sense of day and night, and so it sort of helps to train it. Other things you can do are avoid day time naps.
If you must take a nap during the daytime, try to limit it to the earlier part of the day, and keep it no longer than 15 minutes.
Exercise can also promote good sleep. However we recommend that you once again do this during the earlier part of the day, not within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
In addition we recommend that you avoid substances or medications that can promote alertness particularly close to bedtime. So things like nicotine, caffeine, medications, such as, pseudo ephedrine, or Sudafed, which you can get over the counter. Prednisone or steroids, diophyllin, which can be used in obstructive airways disease. So try to avoid these alerting substances close to bedtime. Caffeine is by far the commonest culprit as far as keeping us alert and disrupting our sleep. I usually tell my patients, "nothing as far as caffeine after approximately noon, and certainly not within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime."
Caffeine actually works by suppressing a sleep promoting substance in our body called adenosine, and also it has diuretic effects that can break up your sleep because of the urge to urinate during sleep.