HEALTHY LIVING

Want To Sleep Better? Unplug First!

02/12/2013 08:13 am ET

By Keri Glassman for U.S. News

Are you having trouble falling asleep? You may have an overactive mind from all the electronics in your life. Phones, Facebook, TV, blogs, e-readers -- electronics have become such a constant part of our daily lives that we feel almost lost without them. But it's hard to wind down and nearly impossible to get a good night's sleep when our brains are all wired up!

Experts suggest giving yourself a curfew for electronics to prepare yourself for a full night of zzz's. At least a half hour before you want to fall asleep, power down all your devices, and even keep them in another room. (Yes, your smart phone does have an off switch.) Exercise your right to shut off the world and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Yes, we all have busy lives, but no good will come from fooling ourselves into thinking four or five hours of sleep is enough. Don't skimp on sleep, because that's when our bodies crank out important hormones that help repair cells and tissues, fight off infection and boost our immune system.

Approach bedtime with a ritual like meditation. Maybe meditation sounds scary to you, but all you have to do is breathe. Try this: Sit with your feet flat on the ground, with your hands on your knees, and your eyes closed. Breathe in for eight seconds, hold and then breathe out for eight seconds. In an eight-week mindfulness meditation program, researchers found that meditating didn't just help participants manage stress, but it actually changed their brain so they became less reactive to stress. This same practice also helps you sleep well. Give it a shot for eight minutes before bedtime. Out with the electronics, and in with the deep breathing. I promise, your zzz's will thank me!

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