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The Ultimate Guide to Sleeping More in 2014

January 13, 2014
Sally Tamarkin

 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. But between making time for work, family, friends, exercise, and everything else we’re trying to squeeze in, a full night’s rest is often the first thing to go. Follow a few simple tips and tricks to get more (and better!) sleep.

1. Learn all the facts.
Deepening your understanding of the importance of sleep might help strengthen your commitment to catch more Zzz’s. Start by learning how sleep is good for our health, what sleep disorders look like, and the relationship between food and sleep.

2. Make it routine.
Keeping a regular sleep schedule will train your body and mind to wind down at bedtime. Though it’s tempting to try to use weekends or less busy periods of time to bank sleep, research has shown that you can’t really make up for sleep lost over a period of days in just one or two good nights’ sleep, so remember to make your weekends as regular as weekdays.

3. Use the bed for bed stuff only.
Get your brain to start associating your bed with rest by not using that space for anything other than sleep or other relaxing nighttime activities.

4. Enjoy a spot of tea.
If a busy brain is keeping you up, sip chamomile tea, which has been shown to have anti-anxiety properties.

5. Skip the nightcap.
Boozing around bedtime can disrupt sleep. Increase your chances for restful sleep by imbibing earlier in the evening.

6. Have sex.
Hanky panky with someone you love before bed can help you fall asleep. During and after sex, hormones like oxytocin that help you nod off are released.

7. Nap smart.
An afternoon nap is refreshing and rejuvenating — as long as you following napping best practices. Snoozing for 10 to 20 minutes at least three to four hours before bedtime generally won’t interfere with a good night’s sleep. 

8. Go for a (nature) walk.
Treat yourself to a stroll among greenery. Research has linked forest walks with better sleep.

9. Exercise regularly.
A study showed that people who exercised at moderate intensity experienced relief from insomnia. (For tips on incorporating regular exercise into your life, see our post on exercise-related resolutions!)

10. Kick clocks and snooze buttons to the curb.
Relying on alarm clocks and snooze buttons wreaks havoc on our body’s natural rhythmsTo develop better sleep habits, get a handle on your circadian rhythms and determine when your body naturally wants to fall asleep, wake up, work, and exercise — and then craft a schedule around those rhythms.