National Sleep Foundation/Better Sleep Council Sleep Tips


We all have too much to do, so take time out and recharge yourself by getting a good night’s sleep. The quality and quantity of your sleep can make all the difference in how productive you'll be the next day. Here are some tips to help you get the sleep you need and deserve.


  • Determine your sleep requirement. Determining the amount of sleep you need each night to be fully alert the next day is a big step towards sleep environment control. You should try to get at least your minimum sleep requirement each night, if not more. Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  •  Give yourself “permission” to go to bed. As hard as it may be to put away your “to do” list, make sleep a “priority.” You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
  • Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule, including weekends. Keep your biological clock in check by going to bed around the same time each night and waking up close to the same time each morning
  • Unwind early in the evening. Try to deal with worries and distractions several hours before bedtime.
  • Develop a sleep ritual. Doing the same things each night just before bed signals your body to settle down for the night.
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music. Engage in pre-bedtime relaxation. Engaging in a relaxing, non-alerting activity at bedtime such as reading or listening to music will help you sleep better. Avoid activities that are mentally and physically stimulating that might keep you awake.
  • Sleep in a dark room, on a comfortable, supportive mattress. You need to create a restful sleep environment so the sleep you get is restorative and uninterrupted.
  • Reduce noise. Keeping your bedroom noise level at a minimum creates an ideal, relaxed sleep environment. Consider removing your television and/or radio from the bedroom.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Evaluating your mattress is important – is it giving you the support and comfort you need to get a good night’s sleep?
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment.
  • Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help relieve daily tension and stress – but don’t exercise too close to bedtime or you may have trouble falling asleep.
  • Make sure your room is cool, between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 18 degrees Celsius).
  • Avoid nicotine (e.g., cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep. Smokers take longer to fall asleep and wake up more often during the night
  • Avoid caffeine (e.g., coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. It can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night. Drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime interrupts and fragments sleep.




For more tips on how to Start Every Day With a Good Night’s Sleep™, please visit the Better Sleep Council’s Web site at, where you can download a free copy of the Better Sleep Guide, or request a free copy from the Better Sleep Council, P.O. Box 19534, Alexandria, VA 22320.


Americans Resolve to Sleep More in 2005
Research Shows Sleep Helps Control Weight

ALEXANDRIA, VA, December 15, 2004 - More than two-thirds of Americans recently surveyed by the Better Sleep Council agree that a resolution to get more shut-eye in the New Year is a good idea following the release of new studies connecting lack of sleep and weight problems.

One study by Columbia University indicates that there is a link between sleep and America's obesity epidemic. The research suggests that the more you sleep, the less likely you are to become obese. In fact, people who get less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night are up to 73 percent more likely to be obese.

While diet resolutions are among the hardest to keep, getting more slimming sleep can be relatively easy, the Better Sleep Council survey shows. Three-quarters of those who resolve to get more sleep in the New Year believe it is an achievable goal.

In light of several new medical studies linking lack of sleep to risk of becoming obese, more than two-thirds of Americans recently surveyed by the Better Sleep Council agree that a resolution to get more shut-eye in the New Year is a good idea.

However, the study also revealed that only 11% of people who made any resolution in 2004 were able to keep it. A resolution to improve one’s sleep is not only achievable, but the benefits are countless and can enhance people’s lives in more ways than they may know.

Aside from impacting your waistline, more sleep can improve your heart health, immunity, memory and learning, motor skills, productivity, mood and stress-level. Sleep deprivation and disorders also hit our pockets, costing Americans an estimated $100 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property and environmental damage.

Better sleep is the key. It’s more than just going to bed an hour earlier or occasionally sleeping in. To achieve better sleep, you need to be willing to make some adjustments to your sleep environment and alter some personal behaviors. However, considering the many benefits, these changes are well worth the effort.

But, says Better Sleep Council Executive Director Nancy Shark, it may not be as simple as going to bed a half-hour earlier or sleeping in on the occasional weekend.

"In making a resolution to get more sleep, people need to really focus on better sleep as well," she advises. "Take the time to evaluate personal bedtime habits as well as your sleep environment, and be willing to make a few changes. Investing in a comfortable, supportive new mattress and foundation can make all the difference."


Lancet Study Proves that a Mattress Can Improve Your Sleep


Still waking up with an aching back and not quite feeling like yourself? A 2004 study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet suggests your mattress may be the cause.

A Spanish study of more than 300 individuals with chronic lower-back pain tested if mattress firmness improved or exacerbated participants’ symptoms. Participants that previously slept on both very-firm and medium-firm mattresses were asked to sleep on new very-firm and medium-firm mattresses for 90 days.

Both test groups confirmed they experienced an improvement in their level of pain. Partners of those experiencing back pain also experienced improvement as well.

“This study demonstrates that replacing your mattress may help alleviate lower back pain and thereby improve your quality of life,” said Nancy Blatt, executive director of the Better Sleep Council. “It is important consumers recognize that they have the ability to start each day with a good night’s sleep by finding out what mattress is right for them.”

The Better Sleep Council has also developed the SLEEP Test to help individuals evaluate which new mattress is the appropriate purchase for them.

  • Select a mattress.
  • Lie down in sleep position.
  • Evaluate the level of comfort and support.
  • Educate yourself about each selection.
  • Partners should shop together.

The Lancet study confirms what many consumers have known for years – investing in the right mattress is an investment in your health,” Blatt added. “Resolve to take the time to consider if you are getting the best night’s sleep possible on your current mattress.”


Stress, Sickness and an Uncomfortable Mattress
Keep Nearly 70 Percent of U.S. Women Up at Night


ALEXANDRIA, VA, May 3, 2005 - A new survey of women by the Better Sleep Council shows that it isn't just new moms who are sleep deprived. In fact, nearly 70 percent of all women in the U.S. report sleeping less than the recommended average of eight hours a night. Women ages 40-60 average a meager five hours of sleep per night, and divorced or separated women, African American and Hispanic women, and Northeasterners/West Coasters suffer the most from lack of sleep, the 2005 poll reported.

Sleepless nights have been linked to many health risks including obesity, heart disease and even car accidents. To address this distressing trend, the Better Sleep Council is teaming up with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health to help women improve the quantity and quality of sleep they get each night. Throughout May, which is not only Better Sleep Month but also includes National Women's Health Week (May 8-14), a special outreach campaign will be conducted to share tips for sleep improvement.

"Women's sleep patterns can be affected by their unique health issues as well as their struggle to balance family and work demands," said Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., sleep expert and author of The Woman's Book of Sleep: A Complete Resource Guide. "The Better Sleep Council survey shows more women are beginning to understand the connection between a lack of sleep and increased heath risks. But women need to be more vigilant and take concrete steps to improve their sleep to ensure maximum health benefits."

Quantity and Quality

The Better Sleep Council warns that although the quantity of sleep is paramount, the quality of sleep is crucial as well. With work- and family-related stress or ailments such as allergies or a common cold registering as among the top sleep deprivers, women often think there is little they can do to get better rest.

The following sleep tips from the Better Sleep Council and the National Sleep Foundation will help Americans in their effort to start every day of the new year with a good night's sleep.

"While it's easy to blame external factors like stress and illness for our lack of sleep," says Dr. Wolfson, "it is important for women to realize there are things they can control to improve the quality of their sleep, like their sleep environment and a good mattress."

"Our poll revealed that an uncomfortable mattress contributes to poor sleep, and that's a factor you can control," said Nancy Shark, Executive Director of the Better Sleep Council. "You should be sleeping on a mattress that combines superior comfort with the right support. If you are waking up tired and stiff, it may be time to replace it."


Children and Sleep

New Parents: Adjusting to the Sleep Habits of Infants

There’s nothing more challenging than taking care of a new baby. The good news is, as babies grow older, they sleep for far longer periods at a time and soon will sleep through the night. In the meantime, know that erratic sleep schedules and getting up in the middle of the night will be part of your lives for the first few months. So make the most of the sleep you can get – provide yourself and your husband with a restful sleep environment. Sleep in a cool, dark room on a comfortable, supportive mattress. That way, you’ll get the best sleep you can, even if it’s for shorter periods of time. And learn to sleep when your baby does. It may be tempting to tackle chores while your baby sleeps, but a quick nap will help boost your energy. Sleep is as important to you as it is to your child.

Sleep and Older Children

Children need at least nine hours of sleep each night to be star students. To help make sure your child gets the sleep he/she needs, make sure your child’s bedroom is conducive to a good night’s sleep. Your child’s room should be cool, quiet and dark, and he or she should be sleeping on a comfortable, supportive mattress.

Mattresses for Children

If a mattress is no longer comfortable for you, it’s not good enough for someone else – especially your child –so do not pass a mattress down to your child. As kids grow, they need supportive and comfortable bedding as well. Be sure your children have enough space to move around comfortably as they grow. In addition,what was once your child’s first “big girl” or “big boy” bed may not provide enough space or comfort by the time he or she becomes an adolescent.



For more tips on how to Start Every Day With a Good Night’s Sleep™, please visit the Better Sleep Council’s Web site at, where you can download a free copy of the Better Sleep Guide, or request a free copy from the Better Sleep Council, P.O. Box 19534, Alexandria, VA 22320.



Sleep Problems

Sleep should be a health priority. It affects every aspect of your day-to-day living. If you can't say “yes” to sleep, make sure to make the most out of the sleep you get. Some easy tips:

  • Exercise regularly – people who exercise a few times a week sleep better than people who don’t.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products late in the day. All can interfere with sleep.
  • Sleep in a dark room, on a comfortable, supportive mattress. You need to create a restful sleep environment so the sleep you get is restorative and uninterrupted.
  • Keep the room cool and quiet.
  • If you find yourself too stressed to sleep, make a list of all the things you need to do. Once you’ve made your to-do list, give yourself permission to relax and sleep. You'll need the energy to tackle your tasks in the morning.


Falling Asleep in a Place Other Than Your Bed                                 

If you regularly fall asleep on your sofa, you may not be getting as much sleep as you need at night in your bed. Or maybe your sofa is more comfortable than your bed! In either case, you should make sure to practice good sleep habits – from sleeping on a comfortable, supportive mattress to not drinking alcohol too close to bedtime. And try to get more sleep – it may change how you feel during the day.


Sleeping in on Weekends

If you sleep more on the weekends than during the week – and many of us do – this indicates that you have a “sleep debt.” A sleep debt accumulates when you don’t get enough sleep. The only way to reduce the debt is to sleep as much as your body needs every night. Make sure you're getting the right quality of sleep as well. Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room on a comfortable, supportive mattress to get your best night's sleep.


Shiftworkers and Others Who Work at Night

The sleep environment is a very controllable part of good sleep – whether you’re sleeping during the day or at night. You can adjust the temperature, replace an uncomfortable or worn-out mattress, block out noise with earplugs or a white noise machine and keep light from your bedroom with dark blinds or eye shades.

  • Make sure your room is dark – use heavy window coverings to block out the light. This is important for everyone, but particularly for people who sleep when it’s bright outside.
  • Make sure your room is cool, between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 18 degrees Celsius).
  • Sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation that offers you enough space to move around comfortably.
  • Sleep in a room that’s quiet.




For more tips on how to Start Every Day With a Good Night’s Sleep™, please visit the Better Sleep Council’s Web site at, where you can download a free copy of the Better Sleep Guide, or request a free copy from the Better Sleep Council, P.O. Box 19534, Alexandria, VA 22320.



Good Night’s Sleep: Top Wellness Priority for Women

Third Annual BSC Stress & Sleep Survey Finds Respondents’ Beliefs and Actions at Odds


ALEXANDRIA, VA, May 6, 2004 – According to the Better Sleep Council’s (BSC) third annual stress and sleep survey, women identify getting a good night’s sleep as their top priority for personal wellness. Twenty-seven percent believe sleep is more important to wellness than eating a balanced diet (24%) and exercising 30 minutes a day (19%).

However, while they say it’s key to wellness, a good night’s sleep is just a dream for many women. In terms of what they actually do, women ranked getting a good night’s sleep third (16%) behind eating a balanced diet (22%) and exercising (26%). In fact, while 45% of women say they feel most energized after a good night’s sleep, only 16% say that they are likely to sleep more to improve their overall wellness.

“This misalignment is leaving women exhausted,” notes Mary Lo Verde, health and wellness expert and author of I Used to Have a Handle on Life But It Broke. “We wear our fatigue like a badge of honor. As women we need to accept the fact that we won’t get it all done; respect ourselves and our bodies enough to make sleep a priority; and maximize our chances of a good night’s slumber by evaluating our sleep environment – including our mattresses. Survey results also validate the important role a mattress plays in the

overall quality of sleep.”

“We found a direct connection this year between sleep deprived women (60%) and their desire to purchase a new mattress,” observed Nancy Blatt, executive director of the Better Sleep Council. “We encourage consumers to evaluate their sleep habits and current mattresses, before exhaustion, back pain or other potential avoidable aliments begin to impact their personal wellness.”



For additional findings from the third annual stress and sleep survey or to download a free copy of the updated Better Sleep Guide, visit

For information on how to live a more balanced lifestyle visit



For general questions and inquiries about sleep and sleep disorders, visit:

Better Sleep Council
501 Wythe Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-1917

Web site:


National Sleep Foundation
1552 K Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-347-3471
Fax: 202-347-3472
Web site:

National Center on Sleep Disorders Research – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NHLBI Information Center
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824
Phone: 301-435-0199
Fax: 301-480-3451
Web site:

Better Sleep Council Canada
P.O. Box 170
Streetsville, Ontario
L5M 2B8
Web site:

Sleep/Wake Disorders Canada
3080 Yonge Street, Suite 5055
Toronto, ON M4N 3N1 Canada
Phone: 416-483-9654
Fax: 416-483-7081

If you think you're suffering from a serious sleep problem, please consult your doctor.

For general questions about sleep safety, visit:

Sleep Products Safety Council


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Better Sleep Council Member Tool Kit

The Better Sleep Council Tool Kit provides an overview of the BSC National Public Relations Campaign as well as materials and resources you can use, as needed, locally.  This kit contains public awareness tools that mirror and reinforce the industry's national campaign (go to for more information on the national campaign).  We hope it will complement and enhance your efforts to make the public aware of the importance of mattresses — ultimately boosting your company's sales.

See the links below to download various sections of the Tool Kit.  Throughout the year we will supplement this toolkit with additional materials, so check back often for updates.

After you have had a chance to review the materials in the Tool Kit, please take our short survey.  Your input will help us create additional materials that will be helpful to you in the future.


BSC Press Releases, 2003–04