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Real-Life Tips for Better Sleep

Posted: 12/23/2013 8:20 am

Most of us are exhausted and don't even realize it. Here are seven ways you can sleep better tonight.
By Lee Walker Helland, SELF

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  • 1. Your First Step: Acceptance

    The three habits that experts consider cold, hard proof of sleep deprivation: You rely on caffeine to make it through the day, every day (even with a good night's sleep); you can't wake up on time without an alarm; and on weekends you have to sleep in for hours. photo: Arthur Belebeau <strong>More from <em><a href="http://www.self.com?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">SELF</a></em>:</strong> <a href="http://www.self.com/beauty/2013/10/wake-up-gorgeous-overnight-treatments-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">Wake Up Gorgeous With These Overnight Treatments</a> <a href="http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/03/20-superfoods-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">20 Superfoods For Weight Loss</a>

  • 2. Quit Considering Sleep A Luxury

    Experts say too many young women view sleep as a treat, like a facial or new shoes. "Consider sleep as crucial to well-being as proper diet and exercise," says Kristen Knutson, Ph.D. photo: Terry Doyle <strong>More from <em><a href="http://www.self.com?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">SELF</a></em>:</strong> <a href="http://www.self.com/beauty/2013/10/wake-up-gorgeous-overnight-treatments-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">Wake Up Gorgeous With These Overnight Treatments</a> <a href="http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/03/20-superfoods-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">20 Superfoods For Weight Loss</a>

  • 3. Increase Hours Painlessly

    Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night for a week, then add another 15 the next week and so on, says Joseph Ojile, M.D.: "Tiny increments are less daunting but can make a major difference. In a month, you'll be sleeping an hour more every night." photo: David Tsay <strong>More from <em><a href="http://www.self.com?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">SELF</a></em>:</strong> <a href="http://www.self.com/beauty/2013/10/wake-up-gorgeous-overnight-treatments-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">Wake Up Gorgeous With These Overnight Treatments</a> <a href="http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/03/20-superfoods-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">20 Superfoods For Weight Loss</a>

  • 4. Trick Out Your Bedroom

    Set the thermometer 3 degrees below your daytime norm -- 65 to 68 degrees for most of us. Your body temp naturally drops when you sleep, and a cool room helps it along. Dim lamps before bedtime, too; light makes your pineal gland inhibit melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. photo: Grant Cornett/DN Digital Studio <strong>More from <em><a href="http://www.self.com?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">SELF</a></em>:</strong> <a href="http://www.self.com/beauty/2013/10/wake-up-gorgeous-overnight-treatments-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">Wake Up Gorgeous With These Overnight Treatments</a> <a href="http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/03/20-superfoods-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">20 Superfoods For Weight Loss</a>

  • 5. Resist The Siren Call Of The Screen

    Shut down your iStuff, TV and computer an hour before you crash; artificial light fools your brain's hypothalamus (the part that transitions you into sleep) into thinking it's daytime. If you absolutely can't resist a peek at email, at least hold the phone at arm's length to minimize the effects. photo: David Gubert <strong>More from <em><a href="http://www.self.com?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">SELF</a></em>:</strong> <a href="http://www.self.com/beauty/2013/10/wake-up-gorgeous-overnight-treatments-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">Wake Up Gorgeous With These Overnight Treatments</a> <a href="http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/03/20-superfoods-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">20 Superfoods For Weight Loss</a>

  • 6. Don't Drink And Sleep

    Middle-of-the-night bladder calls aren't doing your good night's sleep any favors,so try not to down a lot of liquid before bedtime -- especially anything alcoholic. Although booze can make you drowsy right after you drink it, several hours later you might wake up; experts hypothesize that's because falling blood alcohol levels disrupt your sleep, particularly R.E.M. -- the deepest kind. photo: Terry Doyle <strong>More from <em><a href="http://www.self.com?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">SELF</a></em>:</strong> <a href="http://www.self.com/beauty/2013/10/wake-up-gorgeous-overnight-treatments-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">Wake Up Gorgeous With These Overnight Treatments</a> <a href="http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/03/20-superfoods-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">20 Superfoods For Weight Loss</a>

  • 7. Beat That 2 a.m. Wide-Eyes Thing

    Wakefulness issues -- lying in bed totally alert in the middle of the night, getting up earlier than you want to -- are common sleep problems, even if insomnia gets all the attention. White noise helps; the steady whir of a fan or a wave machine can soothe you into slumber and cancel out middle-of-the-night car horns and your partner's snoring (plus frustration about said snoring). photo: David Tsay <strong>More from <em><a href="http://www.self.com?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">SELF</a></em>:</strong> <a href="http://www.self.com/beauty/2013/10/wake-up-gorgeous-overnight-treatments-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">Wake Up Gorgeous With These Overnight Treatments</a> <a href="http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/03/20-superfoods-slideshow?mbid=synd_huffpowellness" target="_hplink">20 Superfoods For Weight Loss</a>

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