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The Secret To A Good Nights Sleep

August 8, 2017

How well you snooze at night has a lot to do with how you spend your days—sleep quality has been linked with everything from diet and exercise to electronic screen use. There is endless amounts of money spent on sleep aids, mattresses, pillows and blankets with the goal of improving quality of sleep. Now, a new study suggests that something a little less tangible may play a role, as well.

If you want to sleep better, give yourself a reason to get up in the morning! People who have a strong purpose in life tend to sleep better through the night, with fewer symptoms of sleep apnea and restless legs.

Published in the journal Sleep Science and Practice, the study suggests that cultivating a sense of purpose could be a good drug-free strategy for improving shut-eye. And while the study only included adults ages 60 and up, the authors say their findings would likely apply to younger age groups, as well.

5 TIPS TO BETTER SLEEP

1. Power Down
The soft blue glow from a cell phone, tablet, or digital clock on your bedside table may hurt your sleep.

Tip: Turn off TVs, computers, and other blue-light sources an hour before you go to bed. Cover any displays you can't shut off.

2. Cat Naps
You’ll rest better at night. But if you have to snooze while the sun's up, keep it to 20 minutes or less. Nap in the early part of the day.

Tip: Overcome an afternoon energy slump with a short walk, a glass of ice water, or a phone call with a friend.

3. Set Your Body Clock
Go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day, even on weekends. This routine will get your brain and body used to being on a healthy snooze-wake schedule. In time, you'll be able to nod off quickly and rest soundly through the night.

Tip: Get out in bright light for 5 to 30 minutes as soon as you get out of bed. Light tells your body to get going!

4. Lower the Lights
Dim them around your home 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Lower light levels signal your brain to make melatonin, the hormone that brings on sleep.

Tip: Use a 15-watt bulb if you read in the last hour before bed.

5. Free Your Mind
Put aside any work, touchy discussions, or complicated decisions 2 to 3 hours before bed. It takes time to turn off the "noise" of the day. If you’ve still got a lot on your mind, jot it down and let go for the night. Then, about an hour before you hit the sack, read something calming, meditate, listen to quiet music, or take a warm bath.

Tip: Even 10 minutes of relaxation makes a difference.

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