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Seven tips for getting a good night’s sleep

Written by Diane Archer
According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep matters–not getting a good night’s sleep is a public health problem. Insufficient sleep leads to poor health outcomes and greater risk of early death. Yet, one third of adults in the U.S. do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. We need between seven and nine hours a night.
Here are seven tips for a good night’s sleep from the National Institutes of Health:
  1. Develop a sleep routine: Set a daily bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it. If you have an iphone or ipad, the clock app has a helpful bedtime setting. In addition to tracking your sleep, it turns off all the sounds on the device during bedtime hours.
  2. Exercise daily:  Even 20 to 30 minutes a day of exercise can help you sleep soundly.
  3. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine, especially directly before you go to sleep.
  4. Relax before bedtime: Do something quiet and calming–take a bath, listen to classical music, read a book.
  5. Let the sun wake you up. Bright sunlight has been shown to reset your biological clock.
  6. Only go to sleep when you’re ready to fall asleep. It can be anxiety-producing and cause insomnia to lay in bed awake trying to sleep if you don’t feel tired.
  7. See a doctor if you continue to struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.  There are effective cures. Here are five proven interventions for sleeplessness or insomnia.

Keep in mind that if you are often tired during the day, you could have sleep apnea.

A recent Rand study also recommends limited use of electronics before sleep. The Rand study finds that people who sleep on average fewer than six hours a night have a 10 percent higher risk of mortality than people who sleep between seven and nine hours a night. And, people who sleep on average between six and seven hours a night have a four percent higher mortality risk.

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