Sleep hygiene

1. Keep a regular schedule. Our bodies like regularity. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times. With a regular schedule, your body will know when to release calming hormones before bed, and stimulating hormones to wake up.

2. Keep alcohol and caffeine moderate. Both will interfere with sleep. Try to avoid caffeine within 8-9 hours of your bedtime.

3. Eat and drink appropriately. A regular to smallish-sized meal about 2-3 hours before bed, one that is balanced in nutrients, can help facilitate sleep. Try not to drink too much liquid in the hours before bed, which will help you avoid waking up for bathroom breaks.

4. Do a brain dump. Take a few minutes to write out a list of whatever is bugging you. Whatever is in your brain, get it out and on to paper.

5. Turn off electronics. Digital devices stimulate our brain. We recommend unplugging from all screens at least 30 minutes before bed. This includes television, computers, and smartphones. The screens release a blue light that prevents our brain from preparing for sleep.

6. Stretch / read / de-stress before bed. Consider trying some yoga poses, reading, or meditation.

7. Go to bed before midnight. This is better aligned with natural light cycles.

8. Set an alarm to go to bed. Work backwards and add buffer time: If you need to wake up at 6 AM and want to be in bed for 7 hours, start moving towards bed around 10:30 PM with lights out by 11:00 PM.

9. Exercise regularly. Physical movement can promote restful sleep at night.

10. Take a bath or shower. A warm bath with epsom salts or even a cool shower (depending on personal preference) can promote restful sleep.

11. Keep the room dark. This means curtains or shades.

12. Have a stress-free / clutter-free bedroom. Get rid of stacks of mail, boxes, clothes, etc.

13. Keep it cool. Anywhere from 60-68 F appears to work best at night.

14. Use white noise. For instance, turn on a fan or humidifier.

15. Get outside in the sunlight and fresh air during the day. Or, if you work shift, try to get lots of bright light and movement when you should normally be awake.

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