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We all know a good night of rest can set the tone for your entire day, and even though sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle it often gets overlooked. Busy schedules, late nights, or too many distractions can cause people to get much less sleep than their body requires.
Not getting enough sleep is a common problem, but even those who try to get their 8 hours every night might not be practicing the healthiest sleeping habits. No matter how much coffee you drink in the morning, there is no quick fix that can truly balance out the effects of an unhealthy sleep. To get a solid night of rest and practice positive sleeping patterns, try incorporating these 5 tips for a healthier sleep tonight:
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Keep a Sleep Schedule
One of the most important things to practice for a healthy rest pattern is to establish a schedule and stick to it. Varying times to wake up and go to bed will mess with your body and create a chaotic sleep pattern. Sticking to a schedule will allow your body to get used to the idea of sleeping at a certain time and waking at another. Although you can’t time it down to the exact second, try to stick to the same time frames each day, even on weekends and holidays. Aim to get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, and make it a habit to wake up at the same time every day.
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Monitor Your Meals
Eating a large and filling meal right before you head to bed will make it hard for you to get a solid night of sleep. You shouldn’t go to bed hungry but you also should not have a huge meal in the last few hours of your day. If you are hungry in the evening, try a lighter healthy snack instead, to fill your stomach but allow it to settle quickly. Late night binges or midnight fast food is a detriment to your sleeping pattern and will keep your body awake and working for much longer than it should be.
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Settle Your Body
Exercise is a well-known method to tire out your body and it actually can help you get a better rest at night. Regular physical activity has many benefits for the body and overall health, but it also acts as a method to improve sleep habits. It helps you feel more alert and awake during the day, but also makes it easier to fall asleep at night.
Studies have shown significant increases in the quality of sleep for people who get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Use this as motivation to get to the gym and improve both your fitness level and sleeping habits.
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Set the Scene
There are many factors that you can change to improve your sleep. Setting up your bedroom for an ideal night of rest is an easy change that can provide significant improvements. A dark room is important for a good night of rest because it allows your brain to wind down. Cover windows and other light sources to allow yourself the darkest room possible. Low noise levels or complete silence will also help you get a better quality sleep, and removing distractions such as buzzing electronics, timers, television, or other background noise will help you settle into a deeper sleep. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable to you.
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If you spend the last hour before bed winding down and slowly starting to let your body rest, that will also help you get a better sleep through the night. Avoid caffeine, high sugar levels, and bright lights before bedtime to avoid overstimulation that will keep you awake. When your brain is turned on it will keep your body awake long after you climb into bed. If you read before bed, use a small lamp instead of a backlit device to avoid extra stimulation to the brain. If you have lots of trouble falling asleep, try avoiding electronics all together for an hour before you sleep.