How To: Get Better Sleep

In our quest to get a good night’s sleep, we’ll believe just about anything the “experts” tell us. We know how important quality rest is, but we still end up watching one more episode or scrolling for 20 more minutes, so does this mean we’re doomed? Thankfully, it doesn’t, because it turns out, we don’t have to be so strict about some of the sleep advice we try to follow.

These are the loopholes and workarounds to the sleep rules and the best part? They’re sleep scientist-approved.

  • Focus on awake time instead of bedtime - You know the rule that you need to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to get better sleep? It sounds easy until you have to wake up at 6a.m. on Saturday for no reason. But behavioral scientist Wendy Troxel says there’s some wiggle room and that getting up within two hours of your weekday time is good enough.
  • Keep that TV in your bedroom - We’ve heard that screen time before bedtime can disrupt our sleep, but any wind down activity that helps you decompress - even watching TV - is legit if it works for you. Sleep psychologist Jade Wu says, “There is no one-size-fits-all rule.” Know yourself and what helps you and keep the lights low so your brain starts releasing melatonin, the hormone that kick-starts sleep.
  • Be as cool or cozy as you like - Studies have shown a cooler room, like 65-degrees, promotes good sleep, but Wu recommends just going by your feeling, rather than following a specific number. Use layers of bedding and find your sweet spot for comfort.
  • Scrap the bedside “worry” notepad - The idea is that you can jot down concerns during the night so you can get back to sleep, but sleep scientist Aric Prather has a better idea. He teaches patients at his clinic to “schedule worry” time during the day just to stress. That way when you wake up in the middle of the night, you can remind yourself you have worry time on the calendar, so you can let it go until then.
  • Enjoy that glass of wine - Just sip on it earlier, since alcohol can disturb sleep, instead of after dinner.
  • Forget the idea of sleep rules, period - Making sleep a priority is good for health, but obsessing over it? Not so much. Putting pressure on sleep can lead to issues like insomnia, so listen to your body and don’t force sleep. Wu points out that you’re more likely to have a good night’s sleep if you’re not stressed about it.

Source: Oprah Daily

Photo: Getty Images

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