Doing the toss-and-turn samba in bed lately? Here are 7 habits for a more peaceful slumber.
1. Make your drinks caffeine free after lunch. Caffeine lingers in your system for up to 12 hours, so that after-lunch coffee can leave you wide-eyed at bedtime. Switch to decaf after mid-morning, and try chamomile tea or warm milk in the evening. Both will help you get your ZZZs.
2. Eat lightly at night. Large dinners take hours to digest, making it hard to fall asleep. Make breakfast or lunch your main meal of the day, and limit dinner to fewer than 500 calories. While you're at it, skip spicy foods and MSG for less heartburn, indigestion, and too-vivid dreams.
3. Work out early in the day. Regular workouts can help you sleep better, but exercising within 3 to 4 hours of bedtime can actually mess with sleep. Shoot for morning, afternoon, or early evening workouts. Walk during the day, sleep better at night.
4. Have a cup of tea or glass of milk, but skip the nightcap. Alcohol pulls a bait-and-switch when it comes to sleep. It makes you drowsy so you nod off, then it makes you wakeful and restless throughout the night. Skip alcohol within 2 hours of bedtime.
5. Have a quieting bedtime ritual where you can read, bathe, or listen to music. But turn off the TV and the computer(s). Glowing screens from electronics, such as TV, computers, and even your e-reader, signal your brain to stay alert. Power down an hour before bed.
6. Kick the nicotine habit. Like caffeine and alcohol, nicotine is a stimulant.
7. Use the bedroom for sex and sleep only. Don't work in bed. The stress of going over spreadsheets and other work-related tasks makes it harder to fall asleep. If you work on your laptop, you're getting a double-whammy of stimulation of work stress and being in front of a glowing screen.
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