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7 Hidden Ways to Get Better Sleep

Go From Restless to Well-Rested in No Time

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As a college student, I had my fair share of sleepless nights. But as I matured (and learned from the adverse affects I suffered because of those late nights), I began to realize that at the core of a healthy, long life is good sleep. Surprisingly, what we hear about health usually revolves around exercise and nutrition; the truth about sleep—one of the most important factors to attaining vitality—is often left out of the mix.

Losing sleep is certainly not something to be taken lightly. An occasional night of tossing and turning is normal, but continued patterns of this behavior can cause real problems in your ability to function normally. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and even mimic the symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance (which can lead to diabetes and hypertension).

Your mood also suffers when you don’t get enough shut-eye, causing you to become disoriented on the job, fatigued behind the wheel of a car, or irritated at home. But more importantly, these mood swings can affect your relationships with others, and even lead to depression.

But the good news is that, starting tonight, you can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. Here are 7 ways to get back on track. You’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time!

1. Create the right environment. Get your body and mind in the habit of using your bedroom for sleeping. If you frequently sit in bed to pay your bills, do your homework, watch television, eat, talk on the phone, etc., your mind will expect that the bedroom is for daytime activities. Instead, create an environment that is suitable for sleeping. Equip your room with soft lighting, comfortable bedding, and relaxing music. Other tricks include turning the temperature down a few notches, and turning the clock away from your view. Recent studies reveal that watching your sleep time vanish into the morning hours only makes you more anxious and less able to fall asleep.

2. Get yourself into a routine. This is especially hard for people with wavering, active schedules, like students and parents. On busy days, it is difficult—but crucial—to be firm with a routine. If you normally don't fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, or if you don't have a sleep schedule at all, try going to bed a half an hour earlier each week, or set a time to get in bed and stick with it. Eventually your body will get used to going to sleep at that time and it will begin to come naturally.
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Member Comments

  • I know it's not recommended but the TV is a sure thing to put me to sleep. I go to bed, read a little, turn out the light and if I can't get to sleep I turn on the TV until I do. I turn it off but usually don't remember doing it. - 1/30/2016 7:56:29 PM
  • I am another who follows all the suggestions and still struggles. Some of my medications interfere with sleep patterns but I have to take them so my doctor doesn't have any solutions either. It's really hard! - 1/29/2016 10:19:33 AM
  • I am one of the fortunate ones that rarely have problems with sleep, but if it happens to be one of those rare occasions, I find that warm milk with a couple dashes of turmeric, and a teaspoon of honey (but only a teaspoon!) literally works as a sleeping potion for me.

    Everyone is different and you have to find what works, but I do find if I do not exercise during the day, that may prevent me from falling to sleep quickly. I suspect that my body needs to release a certain amount of energy in the day, and if it doesn't, sleep is elusive.

    One last point--I notice someone disagreed with the short nap thing, and suggested 4 hour naps. I would NOT do this. Short naps prevent you from going through a whole sleep cycle but are long enough give your brain/body a brief rest and allow your to re-focus. If your naps are too long and you go through a whole sleep cycle, your are messing with your circadian rhythms and the whole not-being-able-to sleep situation will just be exacerbated. (Please note, if you are ill, then such sleep may be necessary, but that would be the rare exception.) - 1/28/2016 8:24:40 AM
    I generally get a good night's sleep most nights, but if I do find myself tossing and turning (usually because of too much caffeine during the day), I get out of bed and read a home repair manual. After about 20 minutes, I'm usually ready to go to sleep! - 1/28/2016 8:08:50 AM
    One tip says not to have food or drinks too close to bed time. The one underneath says to drink herbal tea or warm milk. - 7/28/2015 11:53:30 PM
  • Can we please learn to differentiate between "tips" and "hacks?" None of these are hacks, they're just tips that should be common sense to all adults by now. - 7/28/2015 8:53:29 AM
    This article would benefit from scientific evidence to backup its advice, please. - 7/28/2015 8:36:37 AM
  • JULIE700
    Great article. I have problems with napping then I can't sleep at night. It's a vicious circle. - 7/28/2015 3:27:46 AM
  • Step one to healthier sleep is taking off your makeup first. - 7/23/2015 9:50:46 PM
  • Good article. Can I make a suggestion though? Can you please select a different stock photo for the article? I'm kind of upset that a photo was chosen of a women sleeping in full-makeup. It's hard enough not feeling self-conscious in our society, do we really need women to also look completely made-up while they are sleeping? It may not be directly harmful, but believe me, it is extremely harmful subliminally. What you see becomes the norm. Sleeping in makeup is not healthy behavior. So please switch it if you can, thank you. - 7/23/2015 8:53:30 PM
  • This is a good article, but I was hoping for some new information. I do everything on this list and still struggle. Medications help at times, but I don't want to become dependent. The only thing I have really found to help (and even this fails sometimes) is to completely exhaust myself each day. - 6/7/2015 11:27:19 PM
    I would love to be able to go to bed and sleep. I have been on Zopiclone for 1 1/2 years now and am afraid to try going to be without it, even though I feel tired. Not sure if I will have withdrawals. I also take melatonin slow release. - 6/7/2015 6:21:36 PM
  • I think sleep is so important that when I nap I do NOT limit it to 20 minutes. The reasons for this are simple. Your body will wake up when it needs to, go with the flow. For every hour that you are sleep deprived will take two hours to make it up. Let your body do its job, and you will be healthier! Just take a nap. If you only have 20 minutes, do NOT take a nap. Wait until you have at least three or four hours, or it is bedtime. None of this 20 minute nap business, it's NOT good for you! - 5/25/2015 1:23:39 PM
  • The tips are good and I do many of them. However, I wake up wide awake at about 3:00 AM ready to start my day. Any suggestions? - 1/4/2015 5:00:56 PM
    I love the article..I suffer from sleep apnea and haven't been using my machine. I finally used it last night and I actually slept 6 hours straight. I woke up feeling better then before had energy to do my morning walk that I haven't done in over a month. I feel alive and ready to take on the day...Denial don't help it just hinders so I'm gonna get that sleep!!!
    - 11/23/2013 11:02:22 AM

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