What To Do When You
a regular bedtime routine.
activities that help you wind down before bed, and stick to the same sleep-wake
even on weekends.
reason to quit? Smokers commonly exhibit symptoms of insomnia—possibly because
their bodies go into nicotine withdrawal during the night.
to reach for coffee when we’re tired after a poor night’s sleep, but drinking
caffeine can make it harder for us to fall asleep at night, creating a vicious
cycle. Try limiting caffeine intake to earlier in the day so it’s out of your
system by bedtime.
Nap the right
Just 10 to 20
minutes of napping
during the day can help us
feel rested (and improve our creativity and memory, to boot!) . But try to
avoid napping after 3:00 or 4:00pm, as this can make it harder to fall asleep
light exposure during the
day promotes healthy melatonin balance, which can help us get to sleep later in
Eat for sleep.
Eat dairy, foods high in magnesium, like halibut, almonds,
cashews, and spinach, and foods high in vitamin B complex, like leafy green
vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
Dim the lights
two hours before bed.
According to one
study, exposure to
electrical lights between dusk and bedtime might negatively affect our chances
at quality sleep. Assuming you don’t want to sit in the dark for hours, find
the happy medium by dimming the lights as bedtime draws near
Turn off the
(or “blue”) light emitted by screens can disrupt
our bodies’ preparations
for sleep by stimulating daytime hormones. Reduce exposure by turning off TVs,
phones, and computers at least one hour before bedtime.
Don’t use your brain before bed.
watch stimulating TV shows, read complex material, or think too hard—about
bedtime; working out
the brain keeps the body awake.
Keep it (dark
A dark, cool
bedroom environment helps promote
restful sleep. Program the
thermostat so the bedroom’s temperature is between 16 and 22 degrees Celsius
(experiment to find what works best for you), and use heavy curtains, blackout
shades, or an eye mask to block lights. Also be sure to charge phones and
laptops outside the bedroom—even this tiny bit of light can disrupt sleep.
melatonin are two of the most highly recommended
supplements (though their
efficacy is still under review). Some other sleep
aids can be
noises are beyond your control (a busy street outside the window, a neighbor’s
barking dog), cover them up with the sound of a bedside fan, a white noise
machine, or other sounds
that help us sleep.
down anxieties. Loose-leaf
paper works, but if you scrawl your sorrows in a journal or notebook, you can
literally close the book on your worries (at least until the morning).
Try a hot bath
warm water into a pre-cooled bedroom will cause body temperatures to drop
slightly, which can trigger
sleepy feelings by slowing
down metabolic activity.
Do some leg
lifts, squats, or other
leg exercises can help divert
blood flow to the legs
and away from the brain. This can help quiet the mind, making it easier to slip
yourself drifting in a
blissful slumber while practicing deep
breathing and progressive
muscle relaxation. Starting at
one end of the body and working up or down, clench and then release each
section of muscles for instant all-over relaxation.
See a doctor.
tried everything and nothing’s worked, it might be time to consult a
professional. A doctor can help rule out any sleep disorders and identify
lifestyle factors or medications that might be getting in the way of a good