Get better sleep with these 5 tips from experts

Spending too many nights trying to fall asleep – or worrying that there aren’t enough ZZZs in your day? You are not alone.

Nearly a third of American adults say they don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours a night. Some of the top causes: Stress, anxiety and a culture that experts say revolves around productivity and not rest.

“You need to understand what your body needs and do your best to prioritize it and not just view sleep as what’s left over from the day,” says Molly Atwood, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. .

Don’t fall for online fads or unproven methods to fall and stay asleep. Instead, try these simple tricks recommended by sleep experts.

Work-related stress is unavoidable and it can be difficult to disconnect. Try to create a ‘buffer zone’ between the end of your workday and your bedtime.

Experts recommend leaving career work and daily responsibilities alone about an hour before bedtime. No checking email, paying bills, doing chores or endlessly scrolling through social media. Instead, create a routine where you relax with a book, indulge in a hobby, or spend time with loved ones.

“It goes back to the core value of mindfulness,” says Dr. Annise Wilson, assistant professor of neurology and medicine at Baylor University. “Anything that helps center you and just helps you focus and release a lot of that tension from the day will then promote sleep.”

Eating a large meal right before bed can disrupt your sleep, so try to eat in the early evening hours.

“I would say that eating a big meal has an impact, simply because it’s like giving your body a really big job right before bed, at a time when things should really be at a standstill,” Atwood said.

But don’t go to bed hungry either. Try snacks with protein or healthy fats, such as cheese, almonds or peanut butter on whole wheat bread.

Drinking a nightcap or espresso after dinner may feel relaxing, but it can lead to a long night.

Although alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, it can disrupt your sleep cycle, decreasing sleep quality and making you more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.

Caffeine is a stimulant that blocks adenosine, a chemical that contributes to the feeling of drowsiness – and it can take up to 10 hours for your body to remove caffeine.

For these reasons, experts recommend drinking your caffeinated or boozy drinks several hours before bedtime.

Light from phones and computer screens can disrupt the circadian rhythm – or the internal clock that wakes us up naturally – by suppressing melatonin, which helps with sleep.

But it takes self-discipline to stop streaming or scrolling, said Dr. Dianne Augelli, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

“TikTok doesn’t want you to stop,” Augelli said. “Only you can hold you back, so you have to learn to put that stuff aside.”

If nothing works and you’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep for more than a month, experts say it’s time to see a doctor. This is especially true if your sleepless nights are interfering with your work performance or your mood.

“It doesn’t matter how much relaxation you do. At some point it will not be effective if there is a significant amount of stress,” Atwood said. “… It might take some troubleshooting to find out.”


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