Ban electronics at bedtime
One of the best things you can do to improve your sleep is keep all your gadgets―that includes tablets, TVs, laptops, and yes, even your phone—out of reach and, if possible, out of your room. The blue light produced by screens messes up your internal circadian clock by making your brain alert at a time when it should be asleep, according to a study done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This not only leads to insomnia but can hurt your overall health, the researchers say. Instead of using your phone to wind down at night, place all electronics on a charging station in another room and keep a good book handy. (Okay, maybe not too good of a book!)
Exercise in the a.m.
Want more sleep success when the lights go off? Make sure you’re getting your sweat on. Exercise is a simple but powerful tool in helping you off to dreamland, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. But don’t expect it to be an instant fix, says lead researcher Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD, a clinical psychologist and director of the behavioral sleep program Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Hitting the gym that morning won’t necessarily help you sleep better that night; rather it’s the consistency that’s important, she explains. In the study, people who exercised at a moderate intensity (think brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes three to four times a week slept the best.
Toss your alarm clock
Waking up to an obnoxious noise blaring in your ear is no one’s idea of a fun time but it’s a necessary evil in our modern times, right? Maybe not. Your body’s circadian rhythms are fine-tuned to regulate both your sleep and wake times. Timing your waking not with an alarm but by the point you are in your REM cycle leads to a much better night’s sleep as well as a more pleasant morning, according to a 2015 study. And it’s not incompatible with your 9 to 5. Figuring out when you need to go to sleep to wake up naturally is as simple as using this sleep time calculator. There are also gadgets that will wake you gently when they sense that you’re ready to rise (try the Sleeptracker Wake Up Monitor).