The Daytime Sleep Plan: The Do's and Dont's of Sleep Preparation

Daytime Sleep Plan

It's important to follow the some do's and dont's of an effective daytime sleep plan.

Even though you won't go to bed for many hours after you wake up, what you do during the day will influence your ability both to go to sleep and stay asleep.

By following the plan below, you can begin to increase the likelihood of sleeping well. You could sleep better on the first night of this plan, but think in terms of a progressive improvement over an initial period of seven nights.

Daytime Sleep Plan:

Step 1:

  • Do get up at a reasonable hour.
  • Do set your alarm if necessary, and make sure you get out of bed when it rings.
  • Don't be tempted to rest in the morning to compensate for a bad night's sleep or for going to bed late the night before.
Step 2:
  • Don't be tempted to sleep or catnap during the day. Any daytime sleep detracts from your ability to fall asleep, and stay sleeping peacefully, at night. If you feel like napping during the day, take a walk instead.
Step 3:
  • Do make sure you get some exercise today, and preferably some fresh air--walking can usefully combine both. If you work out, or do any form of vigorous activity, have your session in the earlier part of the day. Energetic exercise late at night over-stimulates the body, raising the temperature and metabolic rate (the rate at which continuous bodily processes occur). Making love is the only physical exercise recommended immediately before sleep: it can increase the body's production of endorphins--pain relieving substances--and other chemicals that enhance relaxation and sleepiness.
Step 4:
  • Do eat regularly. Have three well-balanced meals, the largest for lunch and the last at least two hours before you go to bed. A light snack, perhaps with a milky drink, about an hour before bed can also help.
Step 5:
  • Don't drink coffee, colas, and other carbonated, caffeine-based drinks. If you can't cut these out altogether, don't drink them after lunchtime. Tea contains caffeine and tannin, which can also have a stimulating effect, and chocolate includes some caffeine. Remember that large quantities of fluid near bedtime could mean disturbed sleep and needing to get up in the night.
Step 6:
  • Don't drink alcohol. It can disturb sleep patterns and make snoring and sleep apnea worse. Even if it helps you fall asleep, once the effect wears off you are liable to wake again.
Step 7:
  • Don't smoke: the nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant. Smoking and its side-effects--which include catarrh, coughing, and blocked sinuses--all contribute to poor sleep patterns.
Step 8:
  • Don't keep thinking about how tired you are, and how anxious you are feeling about a sleep problem. Although this is difficult, resist the temptation and find some displacement activity, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a walk.

I wish you luck with your new daytime sleep plan. Follow these easy steps, and your sleep should improve in no time!

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Griffey, Harriet. Sleep Well Tonight! Sure-Fire Solutions for a Good Night's Rest. New York, New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1998.