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Perhaps nothing is as frustrating as lying in bed awake at night, struggling to sleep while the glow of your bedside alarm clock or phone taunts you. Summer can exacerbate this, between disrupted routines and warmer indoor temperatures as we strive to keep air conditioning at a reasonable level. We’ve all been there, and in hopes of preventing the host of maladies sleep deprivation can contribute to, here are some strategies for getting the quality and quantity of sleep you need to function at your best.
Try to be consistent in going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Exercise regularly (with the approval of your doctor) but not too late in the day.
Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.
Avoid large meals late at night. If hunger strikes after dinner, have a small snack that includes protein and carbohydrates, like cheese and a handful of crackers, whole grain cereal with milk, or almond or peanut butter on toast.
As much as possible, turn your bedroom into a nondigital zone. The blue light your phone, tablet or computer emits can interfere with sleep. Also try for at least 30 minutes of device-free transition time before going to bed.
Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool. Set the thermostat to the 78-degree threshold recommended for energy efficiency during the summer, and use a fan in the room you’re sleeping in. This will make the air feel cooler on your skin and increase the likelihood of a good night’s rest. Another option could be to use a programmable thermostat to lower your home’s temperature below 78 only while you are sleeping.
Establish a soothing nighttime ritual to signal to your brain that it’s time for sleep. This can include taking a bath, reading or listening to relaxing music for 30 to 45 minutes before turning in.
Use thermal insulated blackout drapes to ensure your room is as dark and quiet as possible. Drapes also can potentially save energy by blocking heat and cold.
Try aromatherapy. Inhaling the scent of lavender before bedtime can reduce anxiety, enhance sleep quality, and possibly increase the amount of deep or slow-wave sleep, which can leave you feeling better rested.
Use these tips and techniques to help ferry yourself to the Land of Nod!