How To Sleep Better

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Is getting a good night’s sleep part of your New Year’s resolution? If it is, you’re definitely not alone. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, roughly one-third of Americans have trouble sleeping at least once per week, and about 10 percent even have chronic insomnia—the inability to consistently get enough sleep. But there are many things you can do to help your chances for better shut-eye, and here are some of the best tips I’ve found to get more restful sleep:

Go to bed and get up the same time every day

Sticking to a strict schedule can help you get more sleep because it helps your body stay in a rhythm. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, your internal clock becomes more stable, making it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up at night.

If you want to wake up refreshed and energized each morning, try getting up at the same time every day—even on weekends! Your body will thank you in many ways: You’ll feel better rested, be able to focus better throughout the day, and find yourself waking up without an alarm clock.

Don’t work or exercise in a room with a TV or computer

If you want to sleep better, it’s important to avoid working or exercising in a room with a TV or computer. The blue light emitted by these screens disrupts natural sleep patterns and can cause eye strain, headaches, insomnia and depression.

It’s also been shown that using devices before bed can lead to an increased risk of cancer—so if you think about how much time people spend on their phones after they get home from work (which is often right before they go to bed), then you can understand why this is such a problem!

Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime

The last thing you want to do is eat a large meal before bed. Even if you’re not hungry, there are several reasons why it’s best to wait at least 2-3 hours before eating (and definitely no more than 3). It’s better for digestion and heartburn relief, but this is also one of the biggest reasons why people wake up during the night with indigestion.

If your stomach is full when it goes into sleep mode, your body has to spend extra energy digesting food instead of relaxing and getting ready for deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry, try having a small snack that contains protein—that way, it’ll take longer to digest.

Avoid lighted screens 30 minutes before bed.

When it comes to sleep, light is the enemy. The more you’re exposed to bright lights in the evening, the harder it will be for you to fall and stay asleep. This means if you are on your computer or phone right before bedtime, then you should try and avoid these screens as much as possible — at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

When we think about our circadian rhythm, we know that light helps us wake up in the morning and darkness helps us fall asleep at night. The blue spectrum of electronic devices such as televisions and smartphones mimic daylight so closely that they throw off our natural sleep cycles by suppressing melatonin production (which prepares us for restful slumber).

If this sounds familiar then consider an eye mask or blackout curtains on your bedroom window so that when nighttime rolls around, it’s time for deep relaxation instead of work emails!

Avoid caffeine after lunch, and limit daytime naps to 20 minutes.

Avoid caffeine after lunch, and limit daytime naps to 20 minutes.

Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure and can make you feel more alert. While it can be helpful for staying awake during a long day at work or school, too much caffeine can keep you awake at night, which leads to poor sleep quality. This lack of restful sleep can cause headaches, irritability, anxiety and moodiness in the morning—all symptoms that may lead you to reach for another cup of coffee and start the whole cycle over again!

To avoid this negative cycle while still enjoying your daily dose of caffeine (or avoiding its withdrawal symptoms), try limiting yourself to one cup per day after 2 p.m., or even better yet: try cutting out all sources of caffeine entirely before bedtime so that there’s no chance they’ll interfere with your sleep schedule

Exercise regularly, and avoid it near bedtime.

If you’re looking to sleep better, the first thing you should know is that exercise is good for your sleep. But contrary to popular belief, working out too close to bedtime can actually make it more difficult for you to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Exercise helps us relax and unwind, so if we do it before bedtime, our bodies are still revved up. That makes it harder for us to let go of our worries as we lie down at night. If your body is still in “fight or flight” mode when it’s time for lights out—even if your mind knows that there’s no danger—you’ll likely have trouble falling asleep.

If possible, try scheduling exercise earlier in the day (and avoid late afternoon naps). And don’t worry about being too tired after working out: The benefits of physical activity will help counteract any fatigue from a tough workout!

Make your bedroom a place for rest only (sex is OK), not TV watching, work or phone calls.

  • Make your bedroom a place for rest only (sex is OK), not TV watching, work or phone calls.
  • Sleep with a partner (if you don’t have one, get one).
  • Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. No eating, working or watching TV in bed (unless it’s food-related sex).

Keep alcohol use moderate or non-existent.

  • Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows your brain down. While this may sound like a good thing for sleep, it actually can have the opposite effect. Your body wants to stay awake when you drink alcohol because it feels like you are in danger.
  • Alcohol can disrupt your sleep pattern by causing:
  • You to wake up during the night (often from 1-4am)
  • You to wake up earlier than usual
  • Caffeine can counteract some of alcohol’s effects on sleep quality, but not all of them. If you drink coffee or tea with alcohol after dinner or before bedtime, it could be preventing you from falling asleep quickly and then disrupting your sleep later in the night by keeping your heart rate faster than normal

Don’t read in bed. Do it in an arm chair or the living room sofa instead.

If you’re trying to fall asleep, reading in bed is not the best choice. It’s hard to relax when your mind is focused on getting through that next chapter of your book or finishing that last paragraph.

When you read in bed, it can lead to poor sleep quality and a lack of restful sleep throughout the night. This can cause fatigue the next day, which may affect how well you perform at work or school. The National Sleep Foundation recommends reading before going to bed instead of while laying down and staring up at the ceiling—this way you won’t get distracted by thoughts that keep popping into your head as soon as they come up!

Going to sleep isn’t just about finding the right position; there are many things you can do to make it easier to fall asleep and sleep more deeply.

Going to sleep isn’t just about finding the right position; there are many things you can do to make it easier to fall asleep and sleep more deeply.

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your body will adjust better this way, and you’ll feel less tired during the day.
  • Avoid working or exercising in a room with a TV or computer screen (including brightly lit cell phone displays!). The light from these sources can interfere with your body’s ability to produce melatonin, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) and maintain healthy brain activity during waking hours.
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime—and try not to eat too much before bedtime either! Eating late adds extra stress on digestion that may cause you discomfort if it goes on for long periods of time before bedtime. If food is still digesting after going into REM sleep, that could wake you up during the night as well as prevent deeper levels of restorative sleep overall because digestion uses some energy that would otherwise be spent healing organs etcetera.”


You can have a restful night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. It just takes some practice, patience and know-how.

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