Tips to Sleep Better


Information on this page can be downloaded as a handout.

A good night sleep means:

  • Use your bed for sleep and intimacy only
  • Fall asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Wake up no more than once per night
  • Awake for maximum of 20 minutes
  • Feel refreshed and alert throughout the day
Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep

Lack of quality of sleep will lead to:

  • more errors
  • more distractions
  • slower reaction time
  • lower decision-making ability
  • lower motivation

What you do in daytime matter

  • exercise regularly
  • reduce irregular and long daytime naps
  • increase daytime bright light exposure
  • try to sleep and wake at consistent times

What you eat and drink matter

In the evening:

  • do not drink alcohol or any liquids
  • do not consume caffeine
  • do not smoke or use tobacco
  • do not eat large meals
  • do not eat late
  • Try to have healthy food – eat lots of vegetables and fruit

Where you sleep matter

  • temperature
  • noise (traffic)
  • light (blue light devices, street lights)
  • comfortable bed, mattress and pillow

What you do before bed matter

  • do not bring your worries to bed
  • do not exercise before bed
  • do not take drugs that keep you awake or hyper or energized
  • do not force yourself to sleep
  • do not check the time during nighttime

But… do

  • take a warm bath or shower
  • relax your mind
  • reduce blue light exposure
  • use the bathroom before going to bed

When to see your doctor

  • rule out sleep disorders: sleep apnea, sleep movement disorder, sleep or wake disorder, sleep walking, PTSD
  • have an injury or in great pain
  • feel anxious at night
  • have bad dreams or nightmares

Sleep clinics

  • need doctor’s referrals
  • consults, education, diagnosis and treatment
  • Foothills medical centre for adults
  • Alberta Children’s’ Hospital for children

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information, call Health Link at 811. Interpretation available in 240+ languages.

Information on this page can be downloaded as a handout. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Disclaimer: This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an “as is”, “where is” basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use. Last updated September 2023.