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Get Better ZZZs with Dr. Zee’s Sleep Tips

Northwestern’s own sleep expert talks sleep tips in advance of the March 8 time change

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Sleep is the best medicine,” as the Dalai Lama says.

In honor of Sleep Awareness Week, Northwestern Medicine’s own sleep expert Dr. Phyllis Zee has a few tips to help the weary get a good night’s rest.

Zee is the director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

• Consistency is key –- Go to bed when you are sleepy, and stick to a set rise time. You cannot force yourself to fall asleep. However, you can always get up when you need to. Sleeping in on Sunday morning might feel great, for example. But deviating from your regular sleep schedule could leave you lying awake in bed the following night.

• Work up a sweat –- Exercise can give your body something to rest from and help you stay asleep at night. To allow enough wind-down time, it’s best to complete exercise at least two to three hours before going to bed.

• Talking temperature –- Take a hot shower then get into a cool bed. The drop in your body’s temperature after taking a hot shower and entering a cooler room is a process that naturally mimics day and night, and may help guide you to sleep.

• Put your thoughts to bed –- Jot down your to-do list for the next day, and then put it aside so you feel organized and can avoid racing thoughts that may prevent you from falling and staying asleep.

Sleep Awareness Week began March 2 and ends March 8 with the annual ritual of changing the clocks in accordance with Daylight Saving Time.

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