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How to get a better night’s sleep

If you don’t make it to work, it can be easy to spend all of your mornings indoors. But sun exposure serves an important purpose: it blocks the release of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. “Most morning brain fog is caused by the continued production of melatonin,” said Michael Breus, clinical psychologist and author of “The Power of When”. “When sunlight hits your eye, it sends a signal to your brain to tell the melatonin faucet to turn off.” Try to get at least 15 minutes of sunshine each morning.

Working from home – sometimes from our beds – has erased many lines between work and sleep. But turning your mattress into a desk can condition your brain to view your bed as a place that makes you stressed and alert, which can lead to insomnia. That’s why sleep experts say you should book your bed for just two activities. “The bed is for sleeping or making love,” said Dr. Rosen. “If you don’t do any of these things, then get out of bed. If you have the luxury of going to another room, even better. You must break the association of being awake in bed.

The pandemic has caused people to cut back on their physical activity. But exercise is the easiest way to improve sleep, said Dr Breus. “Sleep is recovery,” he added. “If you have nothing to recover from, your sleep won’t be so good.” At least 29 studies have shown that daily exercise, regardless of its type or intensity, helps people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, especially in people of middle age or older. According to the Sleep Foundation, people with chronic insomnia can fall asleep about 13 minutes faster and gain up to 20 additional minutes of sleep per night by starting an exercise routine. One caveat: Finish your exercise at least four hours before bedtime, otherwise it could interfere with your sleep by raising your body temperature, Dr Breus said.

Caffeine has a half-life of six to eight hours and a quarter-life of about 12 hours. This means that if you drink coffee at 4 pm, “you will still have a quarter of the caffeine floating in your brain by 4 am,” said Dr Breus. Avoiding caffeine in the evening is obvious. But ideally, you should avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. so that your body has enough time to metabolize and eliminate most of your system.

If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to two drinks at night and stop at least three hours before bed. Alternate each drink with a glass of water. Because alcohol is a sedative, some people drink a nightcap to fall asleep faster. But alcohol suppresses REM sleep and causes sleep disturbances, which will get worse. the overall quality of your sleep. “The more you drink during bedtime, the worse your sleep will be,” said Dr. Breus.

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Occasional sleeplessness is nothing to worry about. But if you’ve changed your sleep routine and nothing seems to help, it might be time to see a doctor. A sleep specialist can determine if you need cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, or other treatment. Or you may have an underlying sleep disorder, such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. A doctor will assess you to find out.

If you need help, go to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s website,, and enter your zip code to find a local doctor or sleep provider. “Don’t suffer in silence,” said Dr Abbasi-Feinberg. “Ask for help if you need it. There are sleep doctors everywhere, and that’s what we’re here for.

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