Sleep Care

The Joys of Sleep, Part 2


[Note: The previous articles, “Simple Steps To Sleep” present basic steps that can help you cross the threshold into sleep. These steps are the foundation through which sleep is achieved. If you have not read “Simple Steps to Sleep”, please click here.]


In this and subsequent articles, we will explore many areas of sleep. As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, we are working on improving nightly “sleep behaviors”. These behaviors are designed to supplement the practices outlined in the previous series, “Simple Steps to Sleep”. Some of the information below may be familiar to you and some will be new.


As you approach bedtime, do not watch violent or agitating television programs, which may include the evening news. If you need to see a particular show, you might record it for viewing at a different time. It is optimal to avoid watching television in bed. Many television screens flicker many times a second. Due to these factors, for some people, watching television can activate the brain, making it more difficult to sleep. Discover what is true for you and perhaps reduce or eliminate watching television close to bedtime.

Using Your Bed For Sleep  

Try to associate your bed solely with sleeping, relaxing, and lovemaking. Do not use your bed for watching violent or agitating television programs, using a computer, working, paying bills, or reading disturbing material.


Turn the clock face away from you so that you would have to move to be able to see it. If you previously had a habit of looking at the clock, turning the clock face away from you helps you let go of that. Many digital clocks have red numbers and red is the color associated with danger, which is not conducive to sleep. Find a retailer that carries a large enough selection of clocks that you can find one with blue numbers, which are more calming. Many clocks also come with dimmer switches so you can dim the brightness of the numbers. Do this in the dark so you can set it to the dimmest visible setting.

Fluids And Bladder Control 

Water plays a critical role in a healthy lifestyle. A good reminder to drink plenty of water is having a full glass of water visible while you work and refilling the glass as soon as it is empty. However, drink only minimally in the hours before bed and during the middle of the night, as frequent urinations through the night can severely decrease the quality of your sleep. If you typically get thirsty in the middle of the night, put a glass of water by your bed so you do not have to get out of bed, and drink as little as you can to quench your thirst. Rolling the water around your mouth can help you feel less need to drink.


Although alcohol initially may make you drowsy, it can prevent you from entering deep, restorative sleep. When its sedating properties wear off, the rebound effect can awaken you in the middle of the night and make it more difficult to fall back to sleep. Reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, and never use alcohol as a sleeping aid, as this habit can lead to alcoholism and dangerous health consequences.

Future articles in this series will present you with more behaviors that support good sleep.

Sleep easily and well,

Richard Shane, Ph.D.

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