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7 tips to a better night’s sleep
October 3, 2014
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There are many things that we can do to help ourselves sleep better. There are just as many things that we can avoid to ensure that we sleep better! Here is a list of 7 tips to help us sleep better now!

 

Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark – Sleep can be easily interrupted, and taking steps to prevent external stimulation is a great way to sleep soundly. Cooler temperatures are better in the bedroom, as the body cools itself as a way to help the process of falling asleep. Quiet helps keep the brain free from external stimuli so it can conduct its sleep processes more efficiently. Darkness suppresses the visual stimulation that can keep us awake during the night.

Follow the 20-20 rule – If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed. Try to wind down and choose a relaxing activity in another room altogether. Avoid bright lights, such as watching television or turning on a computer or smartphone. This helps makes you sleepier, and it helps dissociate the “bed” with “sleepiness”. After 20 minutes, try to fall asleep in bed again. Repeat this process as necessary.

Wake up at the same time every day – including weekends Your body needs to be awake for a certain amount of time, and asleep for a certain amount of time. When you sleep later than your usual wake time, it can push your bed time further back as well. This vicious cycle can be difficult to break and prevent you from feeling your best during the day.

Be wary of nighttime caffeine that can disturb your sleep – Caffeine lurks in many foods. It is present in coffee of course, but also in some teas, chocolate, soft drinks, and so on. Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, therefore can linger in your system for quite a while. Individuals vary in their sensitivity to caffeine, but those that are sensitive can have their sleep disturbed throughout the night. This disturbance takes the form of a micro-arousal (0.5-2 seconds), and can persist throughout the night to disturb your sleep.

Spend the hour before bed relaxing and unwinding – Avoid stress as best as you can before bed, as it has a negative impact on your ability to fall asleep. Try to spend the hour before bed as relaxed and as comfortable as possible, perhaps even dimming the lights. Do your best to deal with stressful emails and other issues before this time, as it will interfere with your brains’ ability to fall asleep. Be as stress-free as you can before your head hits the pillow.

Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes every day – There are many benefits to being in good physical shape, and improved sleep is a fantastic benefit!  Exercise physically stresses the body, and the body produces an increased amount of deep sleep as it recovers. Exercise also promotes a greater rise and fall in body temperature, which can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Further, exercise is great for your overall mood and reduces tension.

Let the sun shine in – Exposure to light is very important to the regulation of our circadian rhythms. In the morning, it is important to expose ourselves to as much natural daylight as possible. Try opening  the blinds in the morning, taking an early morning walk outside, or sit near eastern-exposed windows., This simple idea can allow our bodies to fall asleep more easily at night.

 

While everyone has slightly different sleep requirements, one of these simple tips may go a long way into helping you improve your sleep!