Regularly checking your own blood pressure can encourage you to stay on your medications and to live a healthy lifestyle. Record your readings in a blood pressure diary so that you can see patterns in your blood pressure levels. Take your blood pressure at about the same time or times during the day. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco and don`t exercise for at least 30 minutes beforehand. Empty your bladder and sit or lie down for 5 minutes before measuring pressure. There are three basic types of monitors available: digital, aneroid (manual), and wrist or finger monitors. Each has advantages and disadvantages.