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Tips for Sleeping Well
If you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, you can pay for it in reduced energy and concentration in the morning. While everyone has a restless night once in a while, there are some things you can do to help yourself get a good night’s sleep, according to NBCNews.com:
Get into a routine – and stay there. You are more likely to go to sleep quickly and wake up refreshed if you stay on roughly the same schedule for going to bed and getting up. That trains your body to be ready to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Going to bed late or sleeping in on the weekends actually can sabotage your sleep during the week.
Avoid screens at bedtime. The blue light from your phone or tablet screen interferes with your body’s release of melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep cycle. In addition, the content you see – whether it is a scary novel or a disturbing post – can keep you from relaxing into sleep. Try to avoid screens in the last few hours before bedtime.
Stay cool. Cooler temperatures are more conducive to sleeping. Turn your thermostat down when you go to bed, and make sure your bedding is not too warm. You should not be waking up in the night to get rid of some blankets.
Get exercise – at the right time. Exercise can help tire your body and relieve stress, although if you exercise too close to bedtime it can make it harder to get to sleep. Get your exercise early in the day so you will sleep better at night.
Avoid caffeine. Stop drinking coffee at least six hours before bedtime. The same goes for lattes, caffeinated tea, chocolate and anything else that contains caffeine.
Avoid alcohol. While a glass of wine early in the evening can relax you, avoid drinking too close to bedtime or drinking to excess at any time. Alcohol is a depressant, so it might make you fall asleep. But your sleep will not be as restful as it would be if you fell asleep naturally, and you are likely to wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep.
Don’t scrimp on your bedding. You are not in college anymore, so invest in a good mattress and pillows, and replace them when necessary. Also, find sheets and blankets that keep your bed at the best temperature for sleeping.
Don’t look at your alarm clock. If you are having trouble sleeping, watching the time on your clock is not going to help. If you still have an old-fashioned alarm clock, turn it away from you when you sleep.
Breathe deeply. When you can’t fall asleep, you probably get upset – which makes you breathe faster. Use deep breathing or meditation to help slow your breathing so that you can drift off.
Get up if you can’t fall asleep. If after 20 minutes or so you are still tossing and turning, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, get up. Go to another room and read a book (not a frightening or sad or disturbing book) or listen to music or write in your journal for a bit, then go back to bed.
Finally, if you continually are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, even after trying these suggestions, talk to your doctor.