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1. Stick to a sleep schedule, the same bedtime and wake up time (even on the weekends).
This helps to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle—your circadian rhythm. Consistency is vitally important.
2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights. Be wary of using the TV or other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. Put down the smartphone! Instead try taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed.
3. Watch what you eat and drink in the evening.
It is best to not be hungry or stuffed full. Either type of discomfort might keep you up. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can also disrupt sleep. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off. If you suffer from acid reflux, eating big or spicy meals may keep you up with indigestion. It is good to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
4. Exercise regularly.
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.
5. Limit naps, especially in the afternoon.
Try to avoid long, daytime naps because they can often interfere with nighttime sleep. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
6. Create a comfortable sleep environment.
Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring and pets. If your pets sleep with you, consider limiting the number of nights a week or move them to their own pet bed.
Also, sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you.
7. Pay attention to prescription drug side effects.
Prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs, may interfere with your sleep. Some drugs are known to increase the risk of insomnia. Be sure to take prescriptions as directed, including at any suggested time of the day. Drug interactions could also be the source of sleep problems. Please make sure your doctor and Wender and Roberts pharmacist have a full list of your current medications, including anything bought over-the-counter. A Wender and Roberts pharmacist would be happy to review your list and explain potential side effects.
Still having problems getting enough sleep? There are also over-the-counter medications available that might offer you some relief. Talk to your Wender and Roberts pharmacist and visit our Sleep Aids page for more information on over-the-counter sleep aids.