When the clocks “fall back” this year, don’t let gaining an extra hour rob you of needed sleep. There’s plenty you can do now to establish healthy sleep habits and make it easier to reset your internal clock, says Sabrina Brem, FNP-BC, an instructor at Columbia University School of Nursing.
Brem, who is also a family nurse practitioner at the Primary and Immediate Care practice at Columbia Doctors, offers patients these tips for a good nights’ sleep:

1. Wake up and go to bed around the same time every day. “This is the single most important thing,” Brem says. “Plus or minus two hours can be ok, but you’ll have the best sleep if you can stick to a very similar routine seven days a week.”
2. Avoid stimulating activity before bedtime. That includes exercise. But it also means no television, iPad, iPhone, tablet, or bright screen of any kind. “People make the mistake of thinking they’re reading to relax before bed when they pick up their tablet,” Brem says. “The best way to read at bedtime without compromising your sleep is to read an actual book. If you have to read on a screen, use a device with e-ink like some of the Nook and Kindle e-readers.”
3. Watch what you drink. Avoid caffeine starting 6 hours before bedtime, and steer clear of alcohol in the 3 hours before bed. “Lots of people will say a cocktail helps them fall asleep, and it does,” says Brem. “The trouble is usually that cocktail will also cause you to have fitful sleep, wake up frequently, and feel unrested in the morning.”

Source Newsroom: Columbia University School of Nursing