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Wellness

Sleep better tonight with these five simple fixes

Dr. Celeste Thirlwell shares her top sleep-hygiene tips to ensure you get the shut-eye you need ASAP.
Sleep better tonight with these five simple fixes

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Sleep Better Tonight

1. Set a bedtime

Carve out at least seven hours for sleep; eight is better. Set sleep and wake times, and stay close to them on weekends (sleeping in can be as hard on your body as jet lag, which is known as social jet lag). And stick to regular mealtimes. “A schedule releases cues telling your body when it’s time to get sleepy.”

Baby-Pink-PillowsPhoto, iStockphoto.

2. Say no to p.m. coffee

Caffeine is an obvious sleep disrupter — Thirlwell advises cutting out coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m. Nicotine also causes restless sleep, and while alcohol may help you fall asleep, it often causes “rebound awakening” in the middle of the night, which tends to get worse as you age.

CoffeePhoto, iStockphoto.

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3. Go hard (and soft) at the gym

Three times a week, do “on” exercises: aerobic or strength workouts that enhance the sympathetic nervous system, helping you work off excess energy or anxiety. And do daily “off” exercises (tai chi, meditation or restorative yoga) to calm the parasympathetic nervous system.

WeightsPhoto, iStockphoto.

4. Read paper books, not ebooks

Tablet computers, laptops and cellphones are all backlit, which stimulates the brain through the eyes, sending it a message that it’s time to be awake. “No screens in the bedroom, and no electronics after 10 p.m.,” says Thirlwell. Read a regular paper book instead, and you will fall asleep faster.

Paper-BookPhoto, iStockphoto.

5. Be selfish in bed

Secure your own space for sleeping by keeping pets and children (and their own fussy sleeping patterns) out of your bed. And don’t try to endure a partner’s noisy snoring: Insist that they get checked out for sleep apnea, which will help both of you enjoy more restful nights.

For more on why you're so tired click here.

Eye maskPhoto, iStockphoto.

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