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Get a Better Night’s Sleep – Tonight!

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Sleep is a funny thing. For reasons sometimes unknown to us, falling asleep can be one the hardest things to do. Getting the right amount of rest at night is necessary for us to function. Tossing and turning all night can affect judgment, productivity, and the ability to retain information the next day. Over time, it can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and—of course—a chronic bad attitude. (Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?) So whether you’re a night owl or morning person, check out our list on how to sleep better tonight—and you can thank us in the morning.

  • Set an alarm to go to bed: If you find yourself consistently wishing you had hit the hay earlier but staying on track with a calming bedtime routine is virtually impossible for you, consider setting an alarm for yourself — to go to bed.
  • Have a sleep-inducing snack: Did you know cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the hormone which helps you sleep? Honey, nuts, and dairy also all contain compounds that may induce sleep. Get a list of sleep-inducing foods so you can choose your midnight snack wisely.
  • Get techy: Check out the variety of smartphone apps and other gadgets designed to help usher in a better night’s sleep. Tracking sleep over a long period of time can also help us pinpoint what’s helping—and hurting—our snooze time.
  • Stretch it out: Stretching your limbs relieves aches, but it can also calm you and prep you for sleep.
  • Find the right temperature: Many sleep experts say that a cool room, somewhere around 65 degrees, makes for the best sleep, and research backs this notion.
  • Have a routine: Taking time to wind down in the evening can help you prep your body and mind for a good night’s sleep. Make a pre-bedtime ritual, like packing your lunch for the next day, journal, yoga, etc. Make it a routine will get you used to the idea of “winding down.”
  • Get a new mattress: If you’re tired all the time and are waking up with aches and pains, then your mattress may be the thing that’s keeping you from much-needed rest.
  • Check the medicine cabinet: Certain medications might be interfering with sleep. Think a prescription is the culprit to a sleepless night? Talk to a doctor about potential side effects and how to deal with them.
  • Go easy on the alcohol before bed: While that nightcap really can make it feel easier to fall asleep, when your buzz wears off later in the night, you’re more likely to wake up frequently.
  • Get some fresh air: Exposure to daylight helps regulate the body’s internal clock and with it, sleep timing. Getting some sunlight also keeps daytime fatigue at bay, leading to more sleepiness at bedtime.
  • Work out earlier in the day: While exercise can help improve sleep quality, it’s important to schedule workouts that end at least two hours before hitting the hay so that post-workout adrenaline boost doesn’t keep you up.
  • Take a hot shower or bath before bed: This can help the mind relax, while the rise and fall of body temperature induces sleepiness.
  • Don’t put a TV in the bedroom: Not only does television in the bedroom keep us up later at night, but there are studies that indicate watching television before bed actually disrupts sleep cycles.
  • Don’t paint your bedroom red: There’s a definite psychology to color. Red raises a room’s energy level. Red has been shown to raise blood pressure, speed respiration and heart rate. It is usually considered too stimulating for bedrooms.
  • Sniff some lavender: This scent can actually be an antidote to insomnia. Try burning lavender-scented candles or essential oils to ease into sleep. And guys, it’s not girly if it’s for your health!
  • Resist the urge to snooze: It’s hard to say no when your iPhone alarm asks you if you want to snooze. But the truth is, sleep caught between soundings of that alarm is just not high-quality sleep. The snooze button often disturbs REM sleep, which can make us feel groggier than when we wake up during other stages of sleep. You don’t have to launch out of bed in the morning, but setting the alarm for a slightly later time and skipping a snooze cycle or two could bring big benefits.
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