Special Report

19 Secrets to Sleep Better at Night

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11. Exercise regularly

“Regular physical activity is part of a good sleep routine because it helps reduce stress and anxiety,” Smith said. According to a study published in the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal of more than 3,000 men and women ages 18-85,the majority of people who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week were feeling less sleepy when they woke up. The researchers suggested that further studies would be required to confirm that increasing physical activity causes improvements in sleep.

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12. Don’t drink a lot of liquids at night

The amount of liquid a person should consume before bed varies for each individual. “Nearly 1 in 5 adults over age 20 wake up to go to the bathroom at least twice a night,” according to Smith. This condition is called nocturia. “If you are prone to nocturia, a good rule of thumb is to limit or avoid liquids for 3-4 hours before bedtime.”

Also, if you drink juice or soda, the stomach will still have to digest it. And just like with food, the acid from the stomach goes into the esophagus, which could potentially give you acid reflux.

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13. Have some chamomile tea

Chamomile is an herb that has been used for its purported health benefits for centuries. Chamomile tea has been used to treat insomnia, but research regarding its effectiveness has been mixed at best and scientists have yet to provide conclusive evidence. The herb’s relaxing effects may be due to the flavonoid, a compound extracted from plants, that ties to benzodiazepine receptors, which play a role in treating anxiety and sleep disorders, in the brain.

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14. Increase natural light exposure during the day

In a study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researchers observed 49 people who worked during the day — 27 of them were in windowless workplaces and 22 worked near windows. They found that the latter group of people slept better at night — they received 173% more light during the day and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night.

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15. Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy

The bed is not your desk, and the bedroom is not your office. Don’t answer calls and emails when you should be sleeping. When your brain is used to doing other tasks in bed — such as talking on the phone — before falling asleep, it would need you to do those things to fall asleep, Laliotis explained. The body gets used to being restless in bed, preventing it from falling asleep.

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