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23 Evidence-Based Sleep Tips

These helpful tips should help you sleep like a baby, no matter your age.

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Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Waking up exhausted and cranky is never conducive to having a happy and stress-free day. Brain fog is very real and a deterrent to happiness and productivity. Try these 23 tips and you should conk out in no time.

What Goes in Your Body Affects Your Sleep

1. Nix late-night eating. Eating dinner or snacks right before bedtime causes the body to shift into overdrive to digest the food. It may also be adding a few extra pounds to your mid-section. Eat that last potato at least a couple of hours before bedtime.

2. Till the cows come home. Perhaps you’re one of the “lucky” ones whose internal pipes get clogged with excess dairy. Foods like ice cream eaten at night may back up the nasal pipes and result in nighttime breathing issues. This can translate into snoring, fitful sleep, gasping for breath, or other serious sleep issues. If this sounds like you, ease up on fatty foods at night.

3. Caffeine is a no-no at night. A good rule of thumb is to try finishing your last cup of joe at least 6 hours before bedtime to wind down before hitting the sack.

4. Spicy and fried is a no-go for sleep. Not at bedtime! Spicy and fried foods at night may cause the stomach to churn, especially for sensitive tummies. Don’t make your digestion work overtime when you want to sleep.

5. Tea vs. alcohol. Reduce evening alcohol or try another type of nighttime drink. While that wine may put you to sleep, you may end up tossing and turning or waking up mid-snooze. Consider a calming tea at night such as chamomile and/or passionflower, which may even help with depressed mood in some people. (Just no liquids a couple of hours pre-bedtime to avoid those 3 am trips to the restroom.)

6. CBD: It’s not your grandma’s weed. Actually, it’s not “weed” in the traditional sense at all it’s the relaxing portion of the hemp plant. (Make sure you buy from a reputable company to ensure high quality without the psychoactive chemical called THC.) While the jury’s still out, it may be worth a try for sleep.

7. Tryptophan. L-Tryptophan may improve sleep. Talk to your health professional before beginning this supplement, as there may be potential side effects.

8. Melatonin. Remember the old wives’ tale about drinking warm milk at bedtime? Milk contains the chemical melatonin, which may improve sleep quality. Just remember not to overdo dairy if it causes you to become congested. (See Till the Cows Come Home).

What Goes on Your Body Affects Sleep, Too

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9. Lavender. When it comes to relaxation, the nose knows. Try lavender incense, essential oils, or bath salts.

10. Warm tub bath. Soaking in a womb-like warm bath soothes a harried mind and relaxes the body. Try an Epsom salt bath or a lavender bath bomb to give it that extra little kick of pleasure.

11. Nose-opening strips. Breathing issues at night (assuming it’s not a more severe health issue): consider nose-opening strips. Don’t revel in the idea of sticking tape on your nose and looking like a dork? Your bed partner will thank you when you don’t sound like a blowhorn.

Winding Down at Night

12. Same time, the same place. Having a bedtime routine preps the body and mind for winding down; our bodies love a regular schedule. In fact, the body’s circadian rhythm tells it when it’s sleepy time.

13. Electronics need sleep, too. Pry yourself from the TV and electronics at least 30 minutes before you hit the sack. Leave the computer in the den so your sleeping den isn’t a place of mental stimulation and blue light, which may interfere with sleep.

14. Ditch the horror flick. Slasher and suspense movies may be an occasional diversion but can also cause unhappy dreams and sleep problems. Instead of sugar plums dancing in your head, you may get visions of blood and gore dancing across your dreams. For better sleep, find a happy, relaxing flick instead.

15. Arguments don’t help sleep. If you and your partner need to hash out an issue, schedule it for earlier in the day rather than at bedtime.

Setting the Stage for Sleep: The Snooze-Inducing Bedroom

16. Snooze-worthy bedtime reading. Read a relaxing book in bed. As your eyes get heavy and the words blur, you’ll be examining the inside of your eyelids in no time.

17. Binaural beats. Try a binaural beats tape or app on your phone, designed to dive you into deep brainwave states for an extra-deep sleep.

18. Deep Breaths. Take a few long deep breaths in bed and feel the tension drift away.

19. Snuggle. Snuggle your bed partner for a burst of oxytocin before snoozing.

Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels
Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

20. Furry bed partner. Cuddling your dog or cat at night may help with sleep. If you have a bed-hog dog, though, you may want to consider getting a king-sized bed.

21. Temperature. A cool (not Arctic cold) bedroom at night is conducive to sleeping soundly.

22. Darkness. We’re not talking the heart of darkness here, but as dark as you can comfortably make your bedroom. Cover up your clock radio so that blue light isn’t staring you in the face.

23. Noise level. Keep the bedroom as quiet as possible at night and maybe even try a white noise machine if you’re a light sleeper.

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