7 Steps Towards a Better Night's Sleep

Ahhhhh sleep. When we get enough of it, we feel refreshed, revitalized, and renewed. No crabbiness and little laziness. With a good night's sleep, we think more clearly, look better, and feel healthier. Unfortunately, lots of us are poor sleepers, get woken up by screaming babies or snoring partners, or just have too much to do to get an adequate slumber. You need not put the idea of getting a solid night's sleep to bed. These 7 tips will help you sleep more soundly and improve your overall well-being. Put on your PJs and let's get to it!

1. Skip the Afternoon Latte

While 3 p.m. seems like a long way off from bedtime, that jolt of caffeine can linger in your system for hours, making it hard to unwind come bedtime. If you must have that coffee break, go for decaf or a green tea. Your coffee craving is likely more of a habit than anything, so soon you'll grow accustomed to the caffeine cut. Your better sleep will be reason enough to never go back to the brew.

2. Limit Late Night Libations

A fine wine with dinner is always a delight, but steer clear of more than a glass or two. Late night boozing may put you to sleep, but the quality of your sleep will suffer and you may wake up to early due to its effects on your system, never mind the potential hangover. Sip slowly and savor a little alcohol rather than going for a "bottoms up" kinda night. Save that for special occasions only.

3. Tune Out Technology

It's tempting to chill in bed binge-watching your favorite TV series or posting photos on Facebook, but the stimuli of these devices keeps your mind running when it ought to be winding down. Give yourself a time limit of a few hours before bedtime to check your email, scour social shenanigans, and to get your reality TV fix. Once you hit the sack, make it lights out for the night.

4. Dwindle Down Dinner

Do your best to make your dinner the smallest meal of the day. Eat more heavily for breakfast and lunch and go for a clean and lean supper. Try a salad and a pared-down portion of protein, or some steamed veggies over a normal-sized serving of pasta. If you must do dessert, make it a fruit salad or a scoop of fro yo, nothing heavy. A full belly will direct your body's energy into digesting vs. relaxation. Plus, you could get gassy or need to get up in the middle of the night for a potty run.

5. Destress and Decompress

When there's a lot on your mind, it's hard to unwind and drift off into dream world. Try to resolve any arguments, work issues, or nagging thoughts before climbing into bed. The problems will fill your mind with worry, preventing you from getting the sleep you need. Try meditating, talking it out, or even getting your concerns down on paper to release the tension. You will see how much better you sleep when you are at peace.

6. Keep it Cool

You might think it's best to get all warm and snuggly in order to sleep well, but research has shown that a cooler room promotes a better night's sleep. Keep the temp at 68 degrees or below for the best climate for snoozing. You can always get cozy under the blankets or wear some soft pajamas. A too-hot room can cause you to toss and turn and get sweaty… totally uncomfortable.

7. The Darker the Better

Pitch black is pitch perfect for a solid sleep. Close all the blinds, shut every light, and cover all those blinking buttons on your gizmos and gadgets. If you still can't get all the light out, try an eye mask made for sleep. The deep sleep you'll achieve in the utter darkness is like none other. You won't look at sleep the same again (literally).

Ready to hit the sack and sleep like a log? Now you will with these 7 sleep savers. Sweet dreams!

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