PATRICIA MURPHY, PhD: Exercising too close to bed actually raises your body temperature and causes hormones to be released that make sleep initiation difficult.
ANNOUNCER: Luckily it turns out that one form of exercise may actually promote sleep.
PATRICIA MURPHY, PhD: If you have sex, there's pretty good evidence that it's easier to get to sleep and that sleep is deep. It seems that sex is an arousing, stimulating thing, but maybe it causes a drop in body temperature right afterwards and it's easy to get to sleep.
ANNOUNCER: Activities before bedtime are just one part of the sleep picture. Making your bedroom sleep-friendly is another.
PATRICIA MURPHY, PhD: It is difficult to sleep in a light room, so if you can have heavier curtains or shades or blinds on your window. You want to keep the temperature comfortable, typically, a quieter room will prevent awakenings, prevent sleep fragmentation.
ANNOUNCER: The clue to your insomnia can even lie in what you're eating or drinking, and when.
RICHARD ROSS, MD: You definitely want to avoid anything with caffeine in it after five in the in the afternoon. You definitely want to avoid alcohol before going to sleep. Certainly alcohol has an immediate hypnotic effect. It makes people feel sleepy. But it's a terrible hypnotic drug, because it wears off within a few hours, and then a person is often awakened in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep.