Better Sleep: A How-To Checklist

Spend time outdoors every day; ideally around noon or the sunniest point of the day; at least five minutes

Exercise during daylight hours; 20 to 40 minutes, ideally outdoors

No caffeinated coffee after about 3pm, stop earlier if desired sleeping rhythm isn’t achieved

Drink 1 to 2 cups of green or white tea after 2pm but no later than 6pm

Before finishing work for the day, write down on a blank piece of A4 the important meetings/appointments for the next day

Only moderate amounts of alcohol during or after dinner, e.g. 2 glasses of wine maximum

A well-balanced meal for dinner, e.g. 30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates

A short walk around the neighbourhood after dinner; 5-10 minutes

Minimise or eliminate in front of a screen 60 to 90 minutes before desired sleeping time; read a book or magazine made out of paper instead

Data-and-worry dump (15 to 30 minutes before bedtime); quickly write down everything currently on your mind onto an empty page of A4 paper

Mobile phone switched off at least 60 minutes before desired sleep time, put in a draw in a room that isn’t the bedroom

Bedroom as dark as possible; black-out blinds, no LED lights, no lights on alarm clocks

Accept the evolutionary reality that human beings aren’t capable of fully rational, logical thoughts between the hours of (approx.) 2300 and 0700; remind yourself that middle-of-the-night thinking is by definition anxiety-based and somewhat paranoid

Decide ahead of time that you will *not* try to use some of your sleep-time hours to catch up on thinking/planning not accomplished during the day

Practice slow, *shallow* breathing during nighttime waking periods

Have low wattage red-tone lights as night lights in the hallway and bathroom

Use an iPod to listen to soothing music and/or a light-themed audio book during the night (see suggestions below)

Upon waking in the middle of the night, take 2-3 pinches of “sleep dust” under your tongue (see below)

Keep a pair of soft, warm slippers to wear when waking in the middle of the night; when returning to bed keep the slippers on for 5-10 minutes to keep the feet warm


Dimming of blue light emissions from computer and phone screens after sundown:

Try wearing sunglasses while watching TV and/or looking at computer screens 60-90 minutes before desired sleeping time

Soothing sounds to listen during middle of the night wakeful periods:

“Sleep Dust” – a simple mixture of 5 parts sugar, 1 part salt, kept in a small jar on your bedside table (i.e. put 5 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in a small jar)