According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 60 percent of adults experience a sleep problem several times per week. But psychologists presenting research at the Western Psychological Association's Annual Convention, including James Maas, PhD, a psychology professor at Cornell University and leading sleep researcher, offered steps anyone can take to address common sleep problems, such as:
Develop a consistent bedtime routine. For example, try dimming the lights a few minutes before bedtime to give a sense of evening twilight. Avoid surfing the Web or watching television immediately before bed. Write down troubling thoughts so you won't dwell on them through the night. Performing the same nightly activities will signal to your body that it's time to rest and will allow you to fall asleep faster.
Go to bed at the same time each night. Maas explained that people who sleep eight hours a night with varied bedtimes will not feel as rested as those who use the same bedtime.
Wake up without an alarm clock. You will feel refreshed and know your body is getting enough sleep.
Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. It will keep you up past your bedtime and delay the onset of sleep.
Don't drink alcohol within three hours of bedtime. It interferes with sleep and makes your sleep fractured.
Try going to bed earlier each night than you have normally been. This will ensure you are getting enough sleep.
Take a power nap of no longer than 20 minutes during the day, if needed. That will help counter the slump in alertness people generally feel in the mid-afternoon, around 3 p.m.