Tips to Get Better Sleep

It’s a common theme- getting too little sleep. People joke about living on coffee and we are all familiar with the groggy feelings on first waking up, the 2:00 crash and other problems that come from getting bad sleep or lacking sleep.

If you have no medical problems like Sleep Apnea, insomnia or other disorders, you should get enough sleep to wake feeling refreshed despite lack of caffeine.

If you feel like no matter how much sleep you get is never enough and medical testing has ruled out any medical option, here are some tips on getting better- real sleep.

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  1. Set a sleep routine. Try to create the same routine every night before you go to bed. It could be as simple as reading for a little bit before you turn in or it could be something more detailed. Whatever you decide, make sure you stick with it so your body will notice that you do it, then you sleep.
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  2. Try to go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time. It isn’t always easy. If you work shift work, retail, food service or any other area that involves an unstable schedule, you may try to get in bed by 10 every night but have random 11PM, midnight or even overnight shifts tossed in.
    It has actually been found that shift work (different hours by the shift) is bad for employees’ health. In fact, there is a term for it “Shift Work Disorder” and it’s found to be linked to various medical conditions like obesity, heart disease and other related diseases.
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  3. Turn off your phone, TV, computer and other electronics an hour early. Do some gentle stretches, and unwind without electronic (blue light) interference. Same with bright, overhead lighting. Keep a gentle lamp turned on instead. Blue light from screens has been found to keep your brain awake and bright overhead lights also trick your brain into thinking it’s daylight instead of night. That’s good for morning but bad for bedtime.
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  4. Make some hot, decaffeinated tea- I personally use peppermint or earl grey. Pick a blend to help you relax and settle on your couch or bed with a good book.
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  5. Do some gentle stretches and read a good book right before bed.
  6. Make sure to have an easy to follow routine you can do nightly. The routine will start triggering your brain to know when it’s going to be time to wind down.
  7. Avoid caffeine after 12. A lot of people will go to 3, but I found it gives me insomnia unless I stop around noon.
  8. Avoid nicotine before bed.
  9. Avoid alcohol. It may make you “pass out” but it also has a bad affect on your REM sleep- which is the type of sleep you need to truly feel rested.
  10. Try to only take 30 minute “power” naps instead of long naps and don’t nap too late in the day.

There are many other things you can do, but these are the tips I found best help me get full nights of sleep.

Anyone have any other tips they follow?