Skimping on shut-eye may actually lead to reaching for coffee and other sources of caffeine. But overconsuming caffeine can keep you awake at night, resulting in an even greater sleep deficit. Aim to avoid caffeine after noon—it can stay in the system for up to 8 hours.
Rearrange your activities so things get progressively quieter as bedtime approaches. Family finances, overflow from work or planning that visit from your in-laws may be necessary, but don’t do it in the few hours before bedtime. “Make the bedroom a haven,” recommends Donna Arand, Ph.D., clinical director of the Kettering Health Network Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio. “Remove computers and televisions from the bedroom and don’t use it as an office or for work-related activities.”
Alcohol can disrupt sleep. Avoid drinking alcohol in the few hours before bed. While alcohol may initially make you sleepy, it may impair your breathing during sleep, hamper your body’s ability to enter deep sleep, and when it wears off after a few hours, may cause you to wake up and toss and turn. And, remember, while moderate drinking is OK if you have diabetes, it’s important to use caution. Consume no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman, two if you’re a man; drink only if your glucose is under control; and enjoy alcohol with a meal or snack.
Hitting the snooze button so the alarm goes off repeatedly in the morning doesn’t buy you much high-quality sleep. Make the most of your time in bed by setting the alarm for the latest time possible—and get up when it goes off. If you must use the snooze alarm, hit it only once.