Do This Today To Sleep Well Tonight From the moment you wake up, your body starts to prepare for sleep. We show you how to adjust your daytime habits to get the best possible night of rest.

Here's what to remember:
- Start the day with natural light — from an east-facing window, or even better, go outside — to put the brakes on melatonin.
- Cut the caffeine off by late morning. Even if it doesn't keep you up, caffeine impacts how much deep sleep you're getting.
- Get moving during the day. Exercise can increase the quantity and quality of your sleep.
- Avoid the nightcap. Alcohol makes you feel sleepy but disrupts deep sleep.
- Ban the smartphone and TV from the bedroom. Too stimulating, when you should be letting go.
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Do This Today To Sleep Well Tonight

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Do This Today To Sleep Well Tonight

Do This Today To Sleep Well Tonight

Do This Today To Sleep Well Tonight

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Limit caffeine and alcohol and exercise daily to sleep better. Olivia Sun/NPR hide caption

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Olivia Sun/NPR

Limit caffeine and alcohol and exercise daily to sleep better.

Olivia Sun/NPR

From the moment you wake up, your body starts to prepare for sleep. We show you how to adjust your daytime habits to get the best possible night of rest.

Here's what to remember:

  • Start the day with natural light — from an east-facing window, or even better, go outside — to put the brakes on melatonin.
  • Cut the caffeine off by late morning. Even if it doesn't keep you up, caffeine impacts how much deep sleep you're getting. If you have a cup of coffee at noon, a quarter of that caffeine is still circulating in your brain at midnight, says sleep researcher and author Matthew Walker.
  • Get moving during the day. Exercise can increase the quantity and quality of your sleep if it's not in the last two hours before bed. The benefit is bidirectional: If you sleep well tonight, research shows you're more likely to exercise tomorrow.
  • Avoid the nightcap. Alcohol makes you feel drowsy but disrupts deep sleep.
  • Ban the smartphone and TV from the bedroom. Those devices are stimulating, when you should be letting go.

Give yourself a good 7-9 hours every night, Walker says. "Every species that we've studied to date appears to sleep," he says. "That must mean that if sleep does not serve an absolutely vital set of functions, then it is the biggest mistake that the evolutionary process has ever made."