Tips to Get a Better Night of Sleep

Use these tips to get a better night of sleep—so you can spring
out of bed in the AM feeling like your Best Slept Self:

Stick to a sleep schedule:

Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don't need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this goal.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle.

If you don't fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you're tired. Repeat as needed.

Pay attention to what you eat and drink:

Consistent dinner times can be an important cue for your natural sleep-wake cycle. Meals eaten too close to bedtime can negatively affect your ability to go to sleep. Eating a light dinner 3 hours or more before bedtime is ideal so that your food can be fully digested- but a small protein snack can promote sleep. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night. 

Minimize Screen Time:

There’s a good reason why your brain still feels wide awake when you’re scrolling at 2 AM. Electronic devices emit blue light and prevent the natural production of melatonin—the chemical that tells your brain that it’s time to sleep. Ideally, your bedroom should be free from televisions, tablets, phones, and laptops. If it’s not possible to remove blue-light emitting electronics from the bedroom completely, simply turn them off and stop using them at least an hour before you go to bed. If you like to read before bed, try switching out your tablet or phone for a real book. It’s a simple tweak, and you’ll notice how much faster you will drift off to sleep.

Create a restful environment:
Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.

Limit daytime naps:

Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.

If you work nights, however, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.

Include physical activity in your daily routine:

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime, however.

Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.

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