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7 Practical Tips for Better Sleep

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Sleep. We think about it all day, but sometimes when we finally climb into bed, our heads race and sweet dreams evade us. In honor of World Sleep Day, we asked sleep and wellness experts to share some of their best practical tips to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep, so you wake up refreshed and ready to go.

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 Have a healthy morning routine

Holistic nutritionist and wellness expert Jennifer Hanway says your morning routine is even more important than your nighttime routine when it comes to quality sleep.

“How you wake up, light exposure, temperature, food, exercise, etc. actually sets up your sleep/wake cycle for the day, so your morning routine,” explains Hanway. She notes that many people don’t focus on that aspect enough.

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Go outside shortly after waking up

In accordance with Hanway’s advice, sleep consultant Kelly Murray suggests going outside within 30 minutes of waking up for two to 10 minutes without sunglasses.

“When your eyes are exposed to sunlight, it will trigger the release of cortisol (the alert hormone),” says Murray. “You want a surge of cortisol in the morning so that it will rebound throughout the day, allowing it to be at its lowest point when you’re sleeping.”

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Keep your bedroom cool

According to Hanway, the bedroom temperature should be kept at a cool, not cold, temperature. She says 65 degrees is ideal to get restorative sleep.

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Block out blue light at night

“The number one thing you must do to sleep well is to block out blue light in the evening. Light is our primary zeitgeber (factor controlling the circadian rhythm, and therefore, melatonin levels),” says sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo.

Blocking out blue light for two to three hours before bed will help “support your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and wake more refreshed.” Arezzolo is not insisting that you avoid your phone and TV all evening, but rather invest in some blue-light-blocking glasses.

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Manage your stress throughout the day

Murray says it’s important not to put off destressing yourself until the evening. You need to manage your stress levels throughout the day. “A quick and easy way is to do some deep breathing exercises between meetings or every time you use the restroom,” suggests Murray. “A simple breathing exercise that helps to lower stress is to inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for two seconds and then exhale through your mouth for six.”

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Don’t eat too close to bedtime

Hanway says you should avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime since digestion can keep you awake and disturb sleep. The lighter in protein, the better, when it’s late. She suggests swapping red meat for plant proteins, fish, seafood, chicken or turkey.

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Take an epsom salt bath before bed

A bath before bed is such a soothing way to end the day, and now we’re giving you a scientific reason to back up the luxurious habit. “Epsom salt contains magnesium to help your mind and body to enter a relaxed state. When you get out of the warm water, your body temperature will lower, which will trigger the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone,” says Murray. “Our body temperature needs to fall by around two degrees Fahrenheit for our body to produce melatonin.”

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