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Natural Sleep Remedies: Lifestyle Changes continued...

Put other appliances to bed, too. If you want a good, restful sleep, turn your appliances away from your bed. Or better yet, turn them off altogether. If you must use bedroom electronics, choose those illuminated with red light, which is better for sleep than blue light.

Give it up. If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, sleep specialists recommend you get up and leave your bedroom or read. Then return to your bed to sleep when you feel tired again.

Exercise early. It’s no secret that exercise improves sleep and overall health. But a study published in the journal Sleep shows that the amount of exercise and time of day it is done makes a difference. Researchers found that women who exercised at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes each morning, 7 days a week, had less trouble sleeping than women who exercised less or later in the day. Morning exercise seems to affect body rhythms that affect sleep quality.

One of the reasons for this interplay between exercise and sleep may be body temperature. Your body temp rises during exercise and takes up to 6 hours to drop back down to normal. Because cooler body temperatures are linked to better sleep, it’s important to give your body time to cool off before bed.

Keep your slumber surroundings tranquil. Your bedroom should feel like a sanctuary. Piles of clothes thrown on your bed, stacks of bills staring at you, or other random clutter will hamper you emotionally and may lead to sleep problems. A tranquil and organized space will help you feel more relaxed. To create the perfect sleep environment, try the following:

  • Wear pajamas to bed. This can be your birthday suit, but it signals your mind that it’s bedtime.
  • Don’t let your bedroom get too hot or too cold. Sleep can be disrupted at temperatures below 54 F or above 72 F.
  • Make your room dark. Consider installing room-darkening shades. Or wear eye covers to block light from the street or LED displays.
  • Buy a good mattress. You spend 1/3 of your life in your bed, so it’s worth the investment.
  • Use a pillow that supports your head and neck. Give the pillow the bend test: If you bend it in half and it stays in position, it’s too floppy.
  • To filter unwanted sounds, use a white noise machine. Your brain still hears things when you sleep.
  • Sleep on breathable linens. They will reduce sweat, body odor, and skin irritation, all of which can disrupt sleep.

Natural sleep remedies can do wonders for the occasional bout of poor sleep. They shouldn’t be used for chronic sleep problems, though, Harris says. If you have insomnia that lasts for a few weeks or more, talk to your doctor.

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