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Domingo, Noviembre 28, 2021

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A good night’s sleep is as essential to our physical and mental wellness as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Optimizing the length and quality of that sleep can make a big difference in a variety of ways, from improving motivation at work the next day to enhancing your overall health and happiness.

Do Not Disturb


So just how much sleep is enough in today’s fast-paced world? Adults should aim for a solid seven hours of sleep or more per night, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Sleep Helps You Stay Physically Healthy

When sleep suffers, the repercussions can extend beyond crankiness and persistent yawning to more serious ailments. For instance, the CDC reports that today’s sleep-deprived are more likely to be obese and report chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and depression, compared with those who get enough shut-eye.

Jillian Dowling, a certified sleep consultant and owner of Sleep Wise, a holistic sleep solutions provider, notes a common problem interfering with improving our sleeping habits: “We don’t value our sleep until we’re not getting it,” she says. Prioritizing sleep and investing in healthy routines—even when you feel rested enough—is crucial. Here are six natural sleep remedies that don’t require counting sheep.

1. Reduce exposure to bright light before bed

Sending a quick email on your smartphone before turning off your bedroom lights may seem harmless, but that last-minute message could stand in the way of a solid night of sleep. “That light emitting from your phone, laptop or television is actually suppressing the release of melatonin,” warns Dowling. “Without that melatonin, you’re not able to fall asleep.”

Because the hormone melatonin plays such a critical role in the natural sleep-wake cycle, Dowling recommends avoiding exposure to electronics for at least one hour before bedtime.

2. Avoid caffeine late in the day

That cup of joe is a definite no-no past 2 p.m. “Caffeine has an effect on you whether you notice it or not,” warns Dowling. “Although you may not feel it at first, and be able to fall asleep without any problem, caffeine disrupts your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which typically comes in the second half of the night,” she says.

3. Establish a consistent sleep schedule

More than soft pillows and eye masks, following a routine is a critical component in identifying how to sleep better. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Doing this for an extended period of time can set your body’s internal clock. Case in point: Dowling wakes up promptly every morning—sans alarm clock. Another trick to consider from Dowling: Establish a 30-minute bedtime routine that involves “winding down with a good book or a crossword puzzle.”

4. Exercise regularlyand earlier in the day

Physical activity can also play a role in enhancing sleep quality. “The healthier we are, the better we treat our bodies during the day, which can have a direct impact on how we sleep at night,” says Dowling. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation reports that a mere 10 minutes of aerobic exercise not only benefits your physical health but can also help you sleep better. Timing is key: Exercising too late in the day can affect cortisol and melatonin levels as well as body temperature—all factors that determine how easily we drift off. Although figures vary based on the individual, the American Council on Exercise offers a simple rule of thumb: Avoid exercise three to six hours before bedtime.

5. Create the ideal bedroom environment

“Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep,” says Dowling. Although this may mean different things to different people, there are some hard-and-fast rules. Banish electronics. Keep your bedroom clean. “It sounds simple,” says Dowling. “But research shows that a messy home triggers anxiety.” And keep the temperature cool—between 60 and 67 degrees—for optimal sleeping conditions.

6. Don’t be afraid to napon occasion

Although naps shouldn’t be a part of your regular schedule, the National Sleep Foundation reports that a well-timed, midday slumber can “help to improve mood, alertness and performance.” The downside of a daytime snooze? “If you nap too long, you’ll enter into a deep sleep and wake up feeling terrible,” says Dowling. The sweet spot is 20 to 30 minutes, according to some experts. And try to avoid napping too close to bedtime.

A solid night’s sleep is within reach by committing to a routine, and doesn’t need to require a trip to the drugstore. Natural sleep remedies can create the environment and conditions required to reap the physical and emotional benefits of a deep snooze.


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