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10 Tips for Better Sleep

Sleep gives both the body and the mind the time they need to rejuvenate to tackle the next day. In fact, our sleep quality is linked to almost every area of health. And yet, many of us still struggle to get the rest we need. Try these 10 tips to help you sleep better at night.

  1. Exercise early. Exercising can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleepif you do it at the right time. It helps stimulate the body and activate the brain. Try to finish workouts at least three hours before going to bed. For best results, try exercising in the morning. 
  2. Nap with caution. Napping can be a great way to re-energize the mind and body. However, late-afternoon napping can prevent you from falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. If you feel the need to nap, keep it to less than 30 minutes and no later than 5:00 p.m. 
  3. Create a restful environment. Our surroundings can influence our quality of sleep. When there are several stimulants around us, it often keeps the brain alert. Make the room a sleep-inducing environment that is dark, quiet, and comfortably cool. Work to make sleep the main focus of the bedroom by removing TV, work, food, and other activities that may stimulate the brain. 
  4. Eat smart. Large meals at 10:00 p.m. or a coffee right before going to bed can make it harder to fall asleep. Try to finish dinner several hours before going to sleep. If you get hungry late at night, snack on foods that usually don't interfere with your sleep, such as dairy products or carbohydrates. Refrain from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol four to six hours before bedtime. 
  5. Get into a routine. Having a bedtime routine helps set your internal clock. Have a consistent routine the hour before going to bed to help the body relax through activities, such as taking a bath, reading a book, or practicing a relaxation routine. Doing this every day will help the body automatically know when it's time to calm down and go to sleep. It's best to make the routine consistent between weekends and weekdays. 
  6. Manage your worries. How many times have you been awake in bed thinking of everything you didn't get done today and/or everything you still have tomorrow? Work on keeping your worries outside the bedroom to help your mind rest soundly. This can be done by avoiding stressors during your bedtime routine, or writing all your worries down and putting them aside for the next day. 
  7. Don't watch the clock. Staring at the clock when you're trying to sleep actually stimulates the brain, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Turn the clock away from you so you can relax and eventually fall asleep. 
  8. Go to sleep when you're tired. Struggling to fall asleep often leads to frustration, which can then keep you awake longer. If you find yourself struggling for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed. Go to another room where you can do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to music. Stay there until your tired enough to sleep. 
  9. Use natural light. Natural light is a great way to help set and balance your internal clock. Surround yourself with as much daylight throughout your day from the moment you wake up. This will help your mind make the connection that daylight is for wake time and the dark is for sleeping. 
  10. Put in the work. None of these tips are a one-time, cure-all fix. Just like any other area of health, they have to be practiced every day to help improve the behavior. 

Source: HealthySleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips

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Last updated 1/23/2018