Special Report

19 Secrets to Sleep Better at Night

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16. If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed

It’s not a good idea to spend time in bed trying to fall asleep. Chances are you’ll end up spending much of the time just worrying about falling asleep rather than actually falling asleep. Your body will then learn to associate the bed and the bedroom with not falling asleep or not sleeping well, according to the Sleep Foundation. So if you can’t sleep, leave the bedroom. Go into a different room and try some relaxing activities such as reading a book, listening to music, or meditating.

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17. Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime

Eating a big meal before bed may result in indigestion or heartburn. There is some evidence that eating dinner within three hours of bedtime is positively linked with a risk of developing acid reflux symptoms, a common condition that causes heartburn and indigestion and can trigger asthma.

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18. Avoid irregular or long daytime naps

While short naps can be restorative and relaxing, long, frequent, or irregular naps during the day can negatively affect sleep at night. Sleeping during the day may confuse a person’s internal clock, resulting in having trouble falling asleep.

Another study noted that naps that last longer than 30 minutes can have an adverse effect on productivity and sleep quality, more specifically sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is the transitional state between sleep and wake, also known as the heavy feeling right after you wake up.

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19. Change your bed, mattress, or pillow

Bed quality can affect sleep quality. If you are having troubles sleeping, maybe it’s time to check if you need a new mattress. (Mattresses should be replaced every six to eight years, according to the Sleep Foundation.) Some research suggests that sleeping on a medium-firm mattress promotes comfort, proper spinal alignment, and quality sleep. There has also been research suggesting that people who slept on memory foam or medium-firm mattresses experienced a decrease in pain. They also fell asleep faster.

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