Sleepless in Seattle: 4 Ways You're Murdering Your Sleep

sleep tips

Getting about 8 hours of sleep regularly can work magic for adults when it comes to general health, weight loss, athletic performance and feelings of well-being being. But, getting a piece of that magic can be elusive. Why is something so seemingly simple often difficult? Sleeplessness can be a vicious circle. If you’re yawning through this intro, it’s time to WAKE UP and read this! Break your sleepless cycle and evaluate your habits to see if you’re committing some bedtime no-no’s.

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4 Sleep Tips and Quick Fixes to a Better Night’s Rest

1) Blue Light Before Bed

Scientific studies show that exposure to blue light from computer screens, phones, televisions and similar sources can inhibit your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Blue light is heavy on short wavelengths which affect your body’s ability to produce sleep-inducing melatonin. While you might find it relaxing to tune in to a show while in bed, or think you will sleep better if you check your e-mail one last time, the light exposure can actually disrupt your ability to get enough z’s.

Quick Fix
– Try reading a bound book instead of turning on the TV or using an e-reader.
– If you must use a screen, dim the light. Some devices have a “Night Shift” setting.
– Use a program on your device or blue light-blocking glasses to filter out blue light.

book reading

2) Caffeine

Caffeine consumed in the afternoon can keep you up at night, especially if it’s consumed less than 6 hours before your head hits the hay. Caffeine is a stimulant. Even if you think your afternoon jolt isn’t enough to disrupt your sleep, scientists say otherwise. Consuming a pick-me-up coffee or caffeinated tea at 2pm can create a vicious circle. It might give you immediate pep. But, the imminent lack of sleep that follows will leave you tired the next day.

Quick Fix
– Switch to decaf coffees and teas after lunch.
– Avoid dark chocolates, cocoa, colas and other foods in the afternoon/evening that have caffeine.

3) You’re Hot!

While being cozy can help you get solid sleep, being hot does not. In order to fall asleep and stay asleep, your body temperature needs to drop. Stay cool.

Quick Fix
– Turn down your thermostat between 60-67 degrees.
– If you don’t have air conditioning, pull your bedroom blinds during the day to try to keep temps down so the room will cool more at night.

4) Your Sleepy Time is a Moving Target

Going to bed and waking up at erratic times throws off your circadian rhythms and makes it difficult to practice good “sleep hygiene.” If you’ve tried limiting blue light, cooling your room and avoiding caffeine and you’re still tossing and turning, it’s time to get serious about time and cleaning up pre-sleep habits.

Quick Fix
– Remember what you learned in kindergarten. Establish a regular bedtime and a wake-up time. ,
– Follow the 2 hour before bedtime rule. Avoid alcohol, heart-pumping exercise and foods that give you heartburn 2 hours before you go to bed.

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