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Getting Quality Zzzzzs

Nearly 70 percent of American adults report frequent sleep problems. Sleep is essential for good health, mental and emotional functioning, productivity and safety.

Eran Metzger, MD, director of psychiatry at Hebrew SeniorLife's Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, says the following steps can help you sleep better:

  • Go to bed the same time every night, preferably not too early.

  • Bed is for sleeping; read or watch television in bed only as part of a bedtime routine if it helps you relax and go to sleep.

  • Take a 10-minute break during the day for relaxation exercises or meditation. A mid-day nap is fine, but napping longer than 60 minutes may interfere with sleep at night.

  • Exercise in the morning or early afternoon.
  • Spend 20 minutes in a warm bath before going to bed.

  • Ensure that your bedroom environment is conducive to sleeping, with room temperature, darkness, and noise control adjusted for your comfort.

  • Eat a light dinner at least three hours before bedtime; a banana or glass of warm milk as a snack might have a sleep-inducing effect.

  • Avoid all caffeinated foods and beverages, even in the morning.

  • Remember, it is normal for older people to take longer to fall asleep and
    to wake up briefly one to three times during the night; medication will not help and may cause confusion or daytime sleepiness.

In addition, Dr. Metzger says certain medications sometimes cause daytime sleepiness, insomnia, or restlessness. Speak with your physician or pharmacist if you think this is happening.

Above content provided by Hebrew SeniorLife in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted July 2012

Contact Information

Division of Gerontology
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lowry Medical Office Building #1B (West Campus)
110 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02215
617-632-8696

Contact Information

Hebrew Senior Life
1200 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131
617-363-8000