Get a Good Night's Sleep

A list of tips to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Feb 06, 2013

You probably have a lot on your mind to begin with, but add in the current economic uncertainty, and you might find yourself staring at the ceiling at night instead of sleeping. These tips from sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D., author of Beauty Sleep, make it easier to drift off to dreamland.

  • Avoid alcohol in the evening. Alcohol dehydrates the body and creates the need to urinate. It also keeps you from entering the deep phases of sleep, causing you to wake up frequently during the night.
  • Use a nightlight. That way, you can find your way to the bathroom without turning on the light. Bright light makes your brain think that it’s morning—time to stop producing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and wake up.
  • Don’t look at the clock. If it reads 3:00 a.m., chances are you’ll worry about how much sleep you will (or won’t) get, making it even less likely that you’ll fall asleep. Turn off the light on your clock or get an analog clock and keep it across the room.
  • Distract yourself. Try counting backward from 300 by threes. “Distraction techniques usually lead to boredom and, eventually, sleep,” Breus says. “People who tend to think too much have the hardest time falling asleep.”
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