Do you find yourself waking much too early in the morning? When you fall asleep, do you have trouble staying asleep? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans struggle with sleep disorders from insomnia to sleep apnea. No matter where you fall on the healthy sleep spectrum, the below 10 ways to sleep longer may help you improve your sleep and finally get a solid night’s rest.
1. Go to bed at the same time each night
You may be tempted to alter sleeping hours on the weekend, but studies show that even a couple hours’ difference can interfere with your natural sleep cycles.
2. Get enough natural light
You probably know that darkness encourages sleep, but did you know that natural light also helps? Scientific research has shown that people who get enough natural light during the day produce better levels of melatonin, the sleep chemical, and do so at appropriate times.
3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol near bedtime
The body takes about six hours to fully process caffeine, so that 3pm cup of coffee may be the reason you are restless at night.
4. See a doctor to rule out medical conditions
Restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, menopause and other hormonal disorders can negatively impact sleep cycles. If you’ve been struggling to get quality sleep, a visit to your doctor could help identify the cause and help you find relief.
5. Eat more fish
It sounds strange, but a healthy dose of salmon, cod or snapper can actually improve your sleep. That’s because studies show that a diet rich in vitamin B6 can help your body produce sleep hormones.
6. Use pillows to your advantage
Chronic pain can cause waking during the night, or trouble returning to sleep. Back, neck, hip or shoulder pain can be alleviated at times with proper pillow placement.
7. Exercise well before bedtime
Exercise is proven to improve sleep, especially if done well before bedtime. Exercise too close to bed can have the opposite effect, however, as the body needs time to slow down before sleep.
8. Don’t nap after 3 p.m.
Napping too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep cycle and make you feel too awake to sustain a period of sleep.
9. Pay attention to temperature
Being too warm or too cold during the nighttime can make for a less than ideal sleep environment. There is no ideal temperature for sleep; rather it’s an individual preference.
10. Ditch the clock
Stress is one of the main killers of a good night’s sleep, and “clock-watching,” is a resulting habit that can make it difficult to sleep through the night.
Acting on these 10 ways to sleep longer may help get the relief you seek from either frequent or occasional insomnia. Adopting small changes like the ones listed above can make a real difference in helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.
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