The Map to Dreamland: Five Tips for Better Sleep

Catching quality Z’s can improve your memory, lower your stress and help you live a longer, happier life. So why is it so hard for us to tuck in at night and drift off to dreamland? With our buzzing cell phone always within arms reach, it’s easy to see why so many of us struggle to relax at bedtime. A perfect night’s sleep is attainable (and important to living a healthy life!), so check out these five tips to getting better sleep.


It’s tempting to write one last email in bed or channel surf under the covers, but habits like these can keep your mind turning for hours after the light go out. Instead, start winding down at least fifteen minutes before bedtime. Turn off your computer and stash your phone away before slipping into comfortable pajamas and sipping warm caffeine-free tea. If you find yourself fretting about tomorrow, jot down what’s concerning you and then clear your mind for a restful night of sleep.


Although slumber is hours away, your 4pm coffee might be keeping you up at night. Cut out caffeine after 2pm and be especially careful what you eat or drink in the evening. A glass of wine before bed might make you feel drowsy, but alcohol can keep you from getting deep sleep.


Our bodies react to the light around us. Bright light signals daytime, while dimmer lights help us to relax. A study recently showed that exposing yourself to natural morning light can reset your circadian clock (your internal alarm clock) to help you rise earlier naturally. If privacy allows it, crack your shades to allow in morning light.


Keeping a regular exercise schedule can help improve your sleep. Research has shown that at least 45 minutes of cardio each day decreased the effects of insomnia. The best time to sweat is always up for debate, but stretching or gentle yoga before crawling between the sheets is a nice way to quiet your mind and relax your body.


Mild lower back pain might not keep you from drifting off to sleep, but it can make your snooze restless. Tucking a pillow between your knees is an excellent way to align your hips and relieve back pain.

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