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Sleep Problems

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during the night can have a big effect on us. Although many people have occasional bouts of insomnia, chronic sleep problems can:

  • Reduce our effectiveness to cope with stress.
  • Decrease productivity at school and work.
  • Affect our mood, sometimes causing us to feel irritable, tense, or depressed.
  • Contribute to poor concentration.

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene is a term used to describe the variety of behaviors and environmental factors that can impact our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. There are many hints for practicing good sleep hygiene:

  • Curtail the time spent physically in bed.  Staying in bed for excessive time can lead to sleeplessness, a more shallow sleep, and many awakenings.
  • Do something relaxing to calm your mind before going to bed, such as reading for pleasure or listening to music.
  • Stay out of bed until you feel tired enough to fall asleep.
  • Exercise regularly, preferably early in the day (at the latest, 4 hours before bedtime).
  • Avoid coffee, soda containing caffeine, and nicotine – all stimulants.
  • Regulate your use of alcohol.  When your body metabolizes alcohol it causes activation, thus disturbing and fragmenting sleep.
  • Put your bedroom clock out of sight – “time pressure” is not conducive to sleep.
  • Eat a light bedtime snack – hunger disrupts sleep.
  • Explore your napping.  For many people, a nap during the day disrupts their sleep at night.
  • Use your bed only for sleeping.  Avoid doing homework on your bed, eating on your bed, etc.
  • Get up at the same time every morning, no matter how much sleep you got.  This helps maintain a firm sleep rhythm, making it easier to sleep at night.
  • If worries keep you awake, set aside time earlier in the evening to write down your worried thoughts.  When going to bed, remind yourself that you have already done your worrying for the night.
  • Learn and use relaxation skills to prepare your mind and body for sleep. 
  • Consult with a professional at the Drexel University Counseling Center at (215) 895-1415 to explore other options, learn relaxation skills, or tailor a program that’s right for you.

Additional Resources

There is a video presentation on Insomnia available at the following link: www.drexel.edu/studentaffairs/ch/CC_insomnia.html.

The content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.